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The Government traditionally used to run telecommunications and postal services within Malawi. In 1994, these services were transferred under statute to a State-owned corporation Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (MPTC), which became responsible both for operating and regulating postal and telecommunications services.


On 13 January 1995, MPTC and TMB entered into a joint venture agreement to undertake a project to provide GSM mobile cellular telephone, fixed telephone and data network services. Telekom Networks Limited, was incorporated as a private limited company on 24 March 1995 and the name of the company was subsequently changed to Telekom Networks (Malawi) Limited.


In August 1998, the Government published a statement setting out a national policy for the development of communications services, covering telecommunications, postal and broadcasting services. In keeping with the objective of maximizing the telecommunications sector's contribution to the continued development of the Malawi economy, various targets were set to:-

 

  • increase the number of working telephone lines;
  • raise the quality of service to international standards;
  • stimulate the provision of new services;
  • reduce the price of telecommunications services in real terms; and
  • Extend access to modern telecommunication services throughout the country according to a defined programme covering rural areas

 

 

Subsequent to the publication of the policy statement and in order to give effect to its principles and policies, the Communications Act was enacted in December 1998. This established the framework for the regulation of communications services in Malawi and provided for the separation of the provision of telecommunications from postal services.


MTL was incorporated as a Government owned public limited company on 30 May 2000 in order to own and operate MPTC's telecommunications business. On 31 August 2000 all of the telecommunications property, rights, assets and liabilities, comprising MPTC's telecommunications business, including MPTC's 40% holding in TNM, were transferred to MTL by operation of law and in accordance with the terms of the Communications Act.


On 14 February 2006 an 80% shareholding in MTL was sold to Telecom Holdings Limited, a consortium comprising Press Corporation as the majority shareholder, Old Mutual, NICO Holdings Limited, Press Trust and Detecon GmbH of Germany. The Government owns the remaining 20% in MTL.


Celtel Malawi Limited was incorporated on 3 September 1998 and launched operations in 1999 and in August 2008 Celtel changed its brand to Zain. In 2010, Airtel acquired the Zain Africa Operations.


On 2 April 2007 MTL Mobile (MTL) acquired TMB's 60% shareholding in TNM. MTL Mobile shareholders comprised MTL, Old Mutual, PCL, Livingstone and Minorities.
On 22 May 2008 MTL Mobile shareholders resolved to list the Company's shares on the Malawi Stock Exchange.


In 2007, MACRA issued a second fixed line license to Access Communications Limited (ACL) which started its operation in January 2010.


In May 2011, MACRA issued a fourth mobile phone operating license to Celcom Limited, a Malawian owned company.


The Internet sector is reasonably competitive with 15 licensed ISPs, but the limited availability and high cost of international bandwidth has held back growth and kept broadband prices high. DSL services are available, and several ISPs are rolling out WiMAX wireless broadband networks. The two incumbent mobile networks have launched third generation (3G) mobile services based on UMTS/HSPA technology. A national fibre backbone is being implemented, and the country is set to gain access to international submarine fibre optic cables for the first time when a transit link via neighbouring countries is completed. Provided a suitable regulatory regime is put in place, this will bring down the cost of international bandwidth and deliver a boost to the broadband market.


Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL)

 

Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) is currently Malawi's largest fixed line operator in the country with an over 125,000 customers and offers fixed wire line and fixed wireless voice and data products and services to residential and business customers. MTL has also a CDMA wireless product.
Their mission is to provide speedy, reliable, high and quality integrated telecommunication services to the Malawian population

.


Internet Services - Keeping you connected to the world

MiNET is a broadband internet service offered to individual as well as residential customers. It’s for people who are always on the move and would like to take internet with them, whether to the airport, to a meeting or conference. And it’s also for people who would like to surf the internet in the comfort of their homes together with their families.MiNET uses fast internet access technologies such as wireless(CDMA (EV-DO) and WiMAX) and fixed (ADSL).
To access internet using MiNET you need the following:
  • For wireless access - dongle/modem/wireless card
  • For fixed access - ADSL modem and telephone line

You will also need a voucher that contains a username and password. All these can be purchased at MTL service center shops.

 

TNM

 
Established in 1995, TNM serves its valued customers by providing state of the art information and communication technology services through the provision of innovative solutions to customers' communication needs.
With the unleashing of new cutting edge Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, TNM's vision is to become a world class company for ICT products and services and stay ahead as the preferred choice of mobile communication in Malawi.
TNM network covers all the three regions. TNM also supports international roaming for over 100 countries. It does provide Internet and also gives its customers an option for either having a postpaid or prepaid account.

 

AIRTEL

  Zain Malawi which was launched in October 1999 as Celtel and changed to Zain Malawi in 2008 has rebranded to Airtel Malawi. One of Airtel Malawi's objectives is to increase its subscriber’s base from the current 2.5 million to 7 million.

 

ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS

   

 

Access Communications Limited (ACL) is a young telecommunications company that was awarded a license in 2007 as the Second National Operator (SNO) in Malawi. The company launched its service in January 2010.  
Access is the second fixed operator in the country with an estimated 9,000 customers and offers fixed wire line and fixed wireless voice and data products and services to residential and business customers. ACL has also CDMA wireless product.
They believe and focus on doing ordinary things with extraordinary dedication and focus on the customer. They say; “we may not be the first in the market with our products, but we will ensure that we deliver high quality and reliable products and services that will surpass customer expectation”.
Their vision is:


"To become the preferred facilitator of business interaction in Malawi”
Access says these are there core values:  Quality, Innovation and Excellence

Coverage is available in the following areas: Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Zomba, Thyolo, Chikwawa, Mwanza, Balaka, Liwonde, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Dedza, Kasungu,Mchinji,Salima,Dwangwa and Mulanje. However, plans are there that they will soon have coverage for all the three regions.

 

Regulatory environment
The general duty of MACRA is to ensure that, as far as practicable, reliable and affordable communication services, sufficient to meet the demand for them, are provided throughout Malawi. In doing so MACRA is required to protect consumer interests; promote efficiency and competition; promote open access; promote research in telecommunications and encourage the introduction of new communication services. MACRA is to be independent in the performance of its functions. MACRA'S regulatory activities take the form of:

 

  • licensing of service providers;
  • providing advice to relevant Ministers on regulation and policy;
  • Monitoring the activities of licensees to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of their licenses and other applicable regulations.

MACRA has power either itself or through duly appointed independent persons to investigate complaints and to require the licensee to respond. MACRA can modify the provisions of a license, having taken representations from those interested, if it is in the public interest to do so regardless of whether there are modification provisions in the relevant license.

 

Overview of the current telecommunications market

Telephone and Fax Services


Malawi’s international calling code is (+265)

Telephone services in Malawi has certainly improved , mainly due to weather effects. While a 24-hour direct dialing facility between main centres within the country is available, it can be difficult to get through, particularly during business hours and therainy season, there are approximately 236,000 landlines in Malawi (2008). Direct international dialing service is available to 60 countries, mostly in Europe, North America and Africa. Calls to other countries can be placed through the international operator and are sometimes subject to disruptions and considerable delays. There are also a vast amount of bureaus located throughout the cities that offer international call services, however please ensure you query about the estimated cost before making your call.

Cellular telephones have been introduced, and there are more than 3.5million users. The service is widespread and efficient. The main mobile providers include; Tnm, Airtel and Access communications. You may also text any contacts you have abroad at the standard local rate. Some mobile phones from abroad offer roaming facilities, however using your original country sim card, will charge you extortionate prices. Therefore when you can purchase a local sim card, try it on your own phone, and if it works top it up.

Internet and Email Services

There are various internet and email providers all over the country, charges and band speed vary. These are some of the internet ISP providers in  Malawi:
Burco Systems, Globe Internet, Skyband, Malawi net Limited, Broadband Internet and Malawi Telecommunications Limited

Mail Services: National Postal services

Airmail from the United Kingdom normally takes 4 to 9 days, while airmail from other countries in Europe, USA, Canada, Asia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand can take up to three weeks. Letters and parcels sent by surface mail can easily take up to six months to arrive. Mail from within Africa, including neighbouring countries, can be subject to extraordinary delays of up to six weeks. There is no house-to-house mail delivery. The Post Office also has an Express Mail service to main cities within the country and to countries all over the world. The costs are very high but the service is quick and reliable. The DHL courier service is also available.

 

Snail Mail
Most people stay in contact with their friends and families via regular mail. Letters being sent from the States to Malawi via air mail can take anywhere from 7 days to three months to arrive (the average is a month). Letters from Malawi to the US usually take a much shorter time; expect a week to two months for the letter to arrive. Surface mail, through cheaper, can take as long as six months.
Be careful with what is sent in the envelope. Many people have reported that they suspect their envelope was opened before it reached them, perhaps in the hope of finding money.

That address is:


Peace Corps
[volunteer name]
P.O. Box 208
Lilongwe , Malawi , Central Africa


Packages
Many volunteers receive packages from family and friends throughout their service in Malawi . Unfortunately, sending a package to a volunteer does not always mean that it will get to the volunteer intact or even at all. Malawi’s postal system and mail systems to Africa have been known to render packages opened or altogether lost. Many volunteers report that it can take anywhere from two weeks to 6 months to receive a package from the United States! Sending packages from Malawi to the United States is possible and not too expensive. Of course, the same problem of package tampering applies.
Suggestions:

  • Don’t send cash in the mail, as it can easily be stolen
  • Non-perishable foods are great (e.g. “just add water” mixes, powdered drink mixes, etc.)

Internet and Email
Many people now in Malawi are able to access the internet through their PC’s, laptops and even through their cell phones. Currently, there are a handful of service providers offering Internet access in the three main cities (Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu). Because most people living outside of the cities do not have phones in their homes, most do not have Internet access in their homes, either. Of course it is possible to use the Internet on occasional visits to town and one of the few Internet cafes. In short, don’t expect to have regular email access. It is here, but it’s very slow (analog phone line connections) and is fairly expensive to use.


For those times when you are able to access email, you will want a web-based email system. Once you get to Malawi , try several systems to see which operates the fastest—the number of servers available in Africa varies from system to system.


If you plan to bring a laptop computer and would like Internet access, here are a few bits of information you may find useful:

  • The vast majority of computers in Malawi are PCs. As a result, it may be a good idea to bring a PC instead of a Mac. If you are Mac person you can still get on the Internet— it may just take a little more work.
  • Make sure that your computer can handle Malawi’s 240v system. We STRONGLY suggest you invest in a voltage meter when you arrive here. Computers are easily fried without a voltage meter. With a voltage meter, computers can survive countless surges and brown-outs (drops in voltage).
  • All Internet Service Providers in Malawi offer only analog phone connections to their servers, so all you will need is a 56k modem. An extra phone cable is probably a good idea.
  • As far as software goes, all you will need is your web browser and an email client if you plan on accessing a non-web-based email account. Most ISPs will help you set up your computer to access their servers.
  • Bring back-up software for those times when you find yourself in the middle of Malawi with a crashed computer!
  • Finally, keep in mind that items sometimes get stolen in Malawi. Keep your computer in a locked cabinet and don’t tell many people in your village that you have one. Remember: information spreads quickly when you don’t want it to.

Phones
Most Malawians now have cell phones. Communication has improved and getting better by day. Roaming agreements currently exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in urban areas.

 

Media: 
Radio is the chief source of information and state-run MBC 1 and 2 are the main national broadcaster. Television was introduced in 1999.

 

Television
Malawi does have a television station.Television Malawi is a public broadcaster 100% owned and run by the government. The station transmits its signal throughout the country via satellite. Television Malawi on February 19 2013 started broadcasting on Dstv channel 295.

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has just awarded fifteen new TV licences to prospective broadcasters, who had applied for the licenses two years ago.

Currently, Malawi boast about two public and two religious television stations but these will soon be joined by the new broadcasters, including Times Television, a subsidiary of The Times Group; Zodiak, Timveni, Times Group, Adventist and Beta.


Press: 
There are two main daily English-language newspapers, The Daily Times and The Nation.

Radio: 
Malawian radio broadcasts in two bands: FM and AM.
National Radio stations include MBC 1 and MBC2 that are run by Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.


Privately owned radio station includes Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Capital Radio Malawi, Star FM, FM 101, Joy radio and Matindi FM. Religious radios are also available like Radio Islam, Radio Maria and Living waters. The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has recently issued licenses to new radio broadcasters to expand radio offerings in Malawi. This includes, Central African Presbyterian Synods of Blantyre, Nkhoma and Livingstonia; Chancellor College Community; Matindi; Mwandama  andBua FM.   

     

 

 
 
   
 
 
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