Airtel Malawi licence renewed

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

Airtel Malawi’s application for a new operating licence has been approved by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and the company has since declared that the development will unlock its new investments in the country.

MACRA has announced in statement that the renewal of the licence means that the country’s second mobile phone operator is set to get permission to operate its services for another 10 years starting from February next year although this was still subject to further negotiations.

The regulator says Airtel Malawi applied for renewal of its licence in February this year, in line with requirements that says an operator must apply for a renewal a year before the expiry of an existing licence.

MACRA says it conducted a performance assessment on the company’s performance and compliance with its licence terms and conditions during its operations from February 1999 to next year when its 15-year-long licence will be expiring.

“The performance assessment conducted revealed significant contributions of Airtel Malawi to the country’s socio-economic growth, developed innovative products and services,” says the MACRA statement which further says Airtel Malawi met most of its licence obligations.

The statement has however faulted Airtel for failing to meet consumer related obligations.

“We therefore extend our congratulations to Airtel on the success of their licence renewal application and look forward to more successful ten years,” reads the MACRA statement in part.

Saulos Chilima, Airtel Malawi’s Managing Director whose company is now expected to pay all applicable fees told The Business Times on Wednesday that the company’s existing and potential customers as well as the general populace should expect more new good things from Airtel following the new licence.

“This sill start from network coverage improvement, quality as a key focus area, innovation and affordability as well as CSR [corporate social programmes] to continue as we have always done,” Chilima said.

“We will share exact details as soon as we have the relevant information,” he said.

Chilima said Airtel Malawi is “very excited” with the news about the licence, saying it has come at the right time.

Before the official renewal process is done, the company and MACRA will negotiate a new set of terms and conditions that would take into account technology changes in the industry. Airtel Malawi will also have to undertake measures to meet minimum quality of service standards as well as other conditions necessary to address challenges experienced during its ending licence.

Airtel Malawi got its current licence in February 1999 as Celtel before changing to Zain in 2008. In 2010, it was bought by Bhart Airtel of India.

Share this News
Share |
Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter here