Two southeast African countries will soon have access to high-speed mobile internet with the launch of Airtel’s 3.75G platform in Malawi and Madagascar. The operator is aiming to build the largest 3.75G network across Africa. The launch of the platform promises profound changes to how subscribers in the region experience the web on internet-enabled devices.
The improved technology will enhance multimedia functionality, high speed mobile broadband and internet access; allowing users to make video calls, watch live TV, send and receive emails and download music from the devices.
Malawi’s minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu , noted: “Internet is proving to be a focal point of any aspect of development in the world hence the need to make it easily accessible through such latest technologies which improve internet speeds even in Malawi.”
The Malawi network extends across numerous districts rather than covering only the major cities. Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Mangochi, Karonga, Kasungu, Salima, Zomba and Kasungu can all access the 3.75G coverage. The network will provide the fastest data speeds in the country - up to 21Mbps (megabits per second), significantly higher than the current maximum of 7.2Mbps.
“3.75G technology will give our customers the opportunity to interact with data in a completely different way,” explained Heiko Schlittke, Managing Director, Airtel Madagascar. “This is why Airtel doesn’t see 3.75G as a product but a platform that enables customers to have access to data and the internet.”
There are currently about 400 million mobile subscribers in Africa, according to data from McKinsey & Co. Telecommunications is one of the continent’s fastest growing industries with a rapidly expanding cellular phone market that now includes internet access, mobile banking and mobile commerce.
“We all know that access to basic telecommunications services is crucial for economic development. However, these services are not available to all in Madagascar. Communications should be a fundamental right and not a privilege. Access to telecommunications for populations that are not connected yet will enhance their social, cultural and commercial participation,” added Mr. Schlittke.