Malawi’s telcos reduce cost of data packages during pandemic

Malawi’s telcos reduce cost of data packages during pandemic

With few resources, Malawi is one of the world’s least developed countries. There has been little investment in fixed-line telecom infrastructure, and as a result, the country’s two mobile networks Airtel Malawi and TMN provide the vast majority of connections for voice and data services.

Both operators have invested in LTE technologies to improve the quality of data services. The lack of market competition, together with limited international internet bandwidth, has also resulted in some of the highest prices for telecom services in the region. The government in late 2020 secured an average 80% reduction in the cost of data bundles offered by the MNOs. Following continuing customer complaints, the regulator in mid-2021 ensured that costs were again reduced, this time by about a third.

Mobile penetration remains low in comparison to the regional average and so there are considerable opportunities for further growth, particularly in the mobile broadband sector.

The internet sector is reasonably competitive, with about 50 licensed ISPs, though the limited availability and high cost of international bandwidth has held back growth and kept broadband access prices among the highest in the region. These limitations are being addressed, with the second phase of the national fibre backbone having started in mid-2021.

Key developments:

  • TNM Mpamba m-money service partners with Mastercard;
  • Telcos agree to reduce cost of mobile data packages;
  • Government urged to reduce rate on several ICT taxes contributing to high cost of internet services;
  • TNM partners with the PPPC to provide free wireless Internet services nationally;
  • Government begins review of the National ICT policy and the Malawi Digital Broadcasting policy;
  • Regulator uses USF to install mobile towers in rural areas, to be leased to Airtel Malawi and MTL for a fee;
  • Regulator leans on Universal Access Fund to improve mobile services to rural areas;
  • Report updates include recent market developments, regulator’s market report for 2019, operator data to Q2 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of the pandemic on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Get a Full Copy of this Report

Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: February 2022

Analysts: Henry Lancaster; Peter Lange

Number of pages: 94

Companies mentioned in the report: Malawi Telecommunications (MTL), Access Communications (ACL), Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), G-Mobile (GAIN), Celcom, ESCOM, MalawiNet, MTL Online, Skyband, Globe Internet, Broadmax, Burco

Single User PDF Licence Price: US$890

For more information or to purchase a copy of the full report please use the following link: