MTL hunts fibre optic cable partner

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

The Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) is calling for applications from interested companies to partner it in the operation of its establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to house the fibre optic cable backbone business nationwide.

MTL says it is looking for private sector commercial and operational players to express interest in the prospective co-ownership and cooperation of the network to provide a robust infrastructure to facilitate speedy, reliable and highly quality integrated telecommunication services in Malawi.

The telecommunication firm which boasts the widest fibre optic network that the whole nation benefits from in terms coverage says the shares of equity in the venture will be determined through a process of negotiation after establishing the value of the SPV.

“The SPV will be a separate entity from MTL and the partners and will operate at arm’s length with MTL and the partners,” reads an advertisement pressed in local media.

MTL says the partners it will involve in the establishment of a private sector driven national fibre optic cable backbone that will offer services to other telecoms players as a carrier of carriers and assist in fast tracking ICT development of the country.

“MTL is seeking suitable joint venture partner to enable it to effectively utilise the capacity of the current backbone and grow a truly private sector driven fibre optic network for Malawi,” said MTL chief executive officer Harry Gombachika.

He said they hope the venture will help bring down the cost of telecommunications.

“It will also act as an enabler to the enhancement of the economy by allowing other players in the telecommunications industry to co-own the fibre optic cable without having to waste the country’s forex resources to establish their own fibre based network,” he said.

MTL CEO explained that the growth potential for the telecommunications sector remains strong as consumers continue to migrate from fixed telephony to mobile telephony using alternative communications solutions such as messaging, email and social network chats such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and others mainly due to the widespread diffusion of smartphones and tablets.

“The enterprises continue to depend on broadband connectivity for their operations,” he observes adding that the MTL fibre backbone is currently the only fibre network that links Malawi to the East African Submarine Cable System through Tanzania and Mozambique with full redundancies between Blantyre and Mzuzu.

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