The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has recently awarded the country’s latest telecommunications licence to Malcel.
Malcel will compete with the country’s two largest operators, Airtel Malawi and Telekom Network Malawi (TNM).
According to MACRA Director-General Daud Suleman, the regulator is hopeful that more competition in the local market would “level the playing field” and encourage growth within the country’s digital economy.
Suleman said, “The financial viability and stability of their application assured us, and we will continue to work with Malcel as they start their operation in the country. This is good for the economy, external investment and job creation. But, more importantly, the company is owned by Malawian tech-entrepreneurs, which is a good sign of both local empowerment and Malawians getting involved in the telecoms market.”
Malcel founder, CEO and Deputy Executive Chairman Bonface Ndawala said that the deployment of Malcel network will start in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Ndawala added that the company expects to officially launch operations in Q4 2023. He said Malcel will invest US$280 million in its operations and that more money would be invested through a partnership with a telecommunications tower company.
Regarding the ownership of Malcel, Ndawala said the entity is a partnership between Bedrock Holdings, a Malawian company that owns 30 per cent shareholding in Malcel and Efario Communications Limited, a Danish company that owns 60 per cent shares in the company.
“Through our partnership with Efario Communications Limited, we have acquired US$250 million for this project, and we are negotiating for the remaining US$30 million with various investors to bring the total investment to US$280 million,” Ndawala added.
Ndawala also disclosed that they were in discussion with Vodafone Group about a potential strategic partnership.