Malawi’s third mobile phone operator, Malcel plans to launch its services on 1 October 2023 and has vowed to challenge market leaders TNM and Airtel Malawi.
Malcel founder and CEO Bonface Ndawala said the company plans to establish 1,300 sites to service both the rural and urban areas in order to match the reach of TNM and Airtel Malawi.
Ndwala added that the company plans to invest over US$280-million in its operation over the next five years, and has committed to further investment in order to expand its reach and enhance operations.
Ndawala said, “We have seen among other things that data prices are high. We should be able to bring in innovations that are going to reduce the prices.”
Malawi’s industry regulator, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has officially issued the company with an operating licence.
The Authority said described the move as a milestone in telecommunications.
It added that it expects Malcel to roll out its services within its timeline “and be able to compete with other players already on the market.
Minister of Information and Digitalisation Gospel Kazako said the introduction of Malcel will enhance competition to improve quality of service and reduce the cost of the services.
Kazako said, “We need to bear in mind that the essence of our operations is not just to satisfy ourselves but to meet the needs of our customers by providing high-quality and affordable services. The ICT industry still needs more players in order to contribute effectively to the development of the country.”
Malcel is a partnership between Bedrock Holdings, a Malawian company that owns 30% shareholding in Malcel, and Efario Communications Limited, a Danish company that owns 60% shares in the company.
The remaining 10% shares are earmarked for local and foreign shareholders.
The company has also registered a mobile money company called MCASH.