Find Telecommunication expertise in Malawi

Malawi’s telecommunications and internet industry is recovering following two years of poor economic performance in 2011 and 2012. The current state of the industry is relatively poor compared to most African countries, with high prices and low penetration levels. Economic difficulties have hindered network upgrades, but the recent infrastructural developments put in place should see an improvement.

Last recorded in 2008, Malawi’s telecommunications sector contributed 3.42% to its overall GDP (Trading Economics). The most recent figure from 2002 suggests approximately 3,218 employees made up the industry at that time (EconStats).

The main fixed operators are Malawi Telecommunications (MTL) and Access Communications (ACL) The mobile sector is dominated by Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) and Telecom Networks Malawi (TNM). MTL owns a majority stake in TNM.  Both have launched 3G networks. A third company called G-mobile tried and failed to launch its own operational services in 2013.

The government seems committed to promoting greater privatisation. To boost market competition, the Malawian government has implemented a converged licensing regime which allows crossover between mobile and fixed telecom providers. In 2005 the government also privatised MTL through the Privatisation Commission, but retained ownership of 20% of the company (MTL, 2013).

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, which the Malawian government created as an independent body designed to improve the telecommunications sector, regulates the industry. It attributes licenses to telecom companies such as ACL and Celcom Ltd, and retains the right to take licenses away, as was seen with G Mobile in May 2013.

Malawi Net is the primary ISP in the country, with 14 other licensed ISPs including the above mobile companies. However, because of a lack of infrastructure and the high cost of international bandwidth, there are few broadband subscriptions (see infrastructure tab). There is much room for growth, with a national fibre optic backbone and plans for a submarine fibre optic connection in development, which will “drive down the cost of international bandwidth and deliver a boost to the broadband market” (Budde report, 2013).

Telecoms and Internet Service Providers organisations in Malawi
Burco Elecronics Systems
Celtel Malawi
Epsilon & Omega Ltd
Forestry Research Institute
Gestetner Ltd
Global Internet Ltd
Globe Computer Systems
ICL (Malawi) Ltd
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority
Malawi Net Ltd
Malawi SDNP
Malawi Telecommunications Limited (Malawi Telecom)
Nec Telecoms
Skyband Corporation
Telekom Networks
Zain Malawi