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Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.


Executive summary

One of the world’s least developed countries, Malawi is expected to be able to avoid a recession as a result of the global economic crisis, although its GDP growth will gradually slow from almost 10% in 2008 to around 3% in 2011. Penetration rates in all sectors of the telecommunications market are still well below regional averages. With the imminent launch of the third network, G-Mobile, and the licensing of a fourth in 2010, the mobile sector is set for a boost when it finally moves beyond the duopoly held for many years by Zain and TNM, the mobile arm of fixed-line incumbent MTL. In parallel, however, the average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to continue its rapid decline.

Competition for MTL has also finally arrived in the fixed-line sector in early 2010 with the second operator Access Communications (ACL), already licensed in 2007. The company may eventually emerge as another mobile operator, since the CDMA2000 technology it uses supports full mobility.

The fixed-line sector itself has seen a revival following MTL’s privatisation and the introduction of CDMA2000 fixed-wireless services. 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 in 2010 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.

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. Several ISPs are rolling out WiMAX wireless broadband networks, and the CDMA2000 networks of MTL and ACL support broadband speeds with the EV-DO technology being used.

Third generation (3G) mobile services based on W-CDMA/HSPA technology were launched in December 2009.Key highlights:

Market analysis 2010;
Forecasts for mobile, fixed-line and Internet market to end-2011;
Profiles of major players in all market sectors;
ARPU is approaching US$5 per month;
Mobile network financial results 2009;
Third mobile network launch delayed further;
Fourth mobile licence tendered;
Second fixed-line network has launched;
National fibre rollout;
International fibre bandwidth to reach the country in 2010;
Internet access pricing (dial-up, WiMAX, GPRS, 3G/HSPA).Estimated market penetration rates in Malawi’s telecoms sector - end 2010
MarketPenetration rate
Mobile27%
Fixed2.4%
Internet4.4%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Malawi’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Regulatory environment and structural reform;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU) trends;
Internet and broadband development and pricing, including 3G mobile;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecommunications sector in Malawi, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

One of the highest growth potential telecom markets in Africa;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators - privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Internet and broadband development and pricing;
Mobile data services and pricing, including 3G;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU).

  • Executive summary
    • Table Estimated market penetration rates in Malawi's telecoms sector - end 2010
  • Key statistics
    • Table Country statistics Malawi - 2010
    • Table Fixed-line network statistics - 2010
    • Table Internet provider statistics - 2010
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2010
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2010
    • Table National telecommunications authority
    • Country overview
  • Telecommunications market
    • Market analysis 2010
    • Regional benchmarking
  • Regulatory environment
    • Malawi Communications Act 1998
      • Malawi Communications Amendment Act 2009
    • ICT Policy
    • Regulatory authority
      • Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)
    • Telecom sector liberalisation in Malawi
    • Licence fees and levies
      • Table Licence fees and levies - 2009
    • Universal service
    • Interconnection
  • Fixed network operators in Malawi
    • Malawi Telecommunications Ltd (MTL)
      • Privatisation
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2011
      • Network infrastructure
      • CDMA fixed-wireless system (Liberty Phone)
    • Access Communications
  • National fibre backbone infrastructure
    • MTL
    • Escom
  • International infrastructure
    • Submarine cable networks
  • Internet market
    • Overview
      • Table Internet users and penetration rate - 1997; 1999 - 2011
    • Malawi's ISP market
      • MalawiNet
      • MTL Online
      • Skyband
      • Globe Internet
    • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • Broadband market
    • ADSL
    • Wireless broadband
      • Broadmax
      • Skyband
      • Globmax
        • Table Globemax WiMAX pricing - October 2009
  • Mobile communications
    • Overview of Malawi's mobile market
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2011
        • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - September 2009
    • Major mobile operators
      • TNM
        • Table TNM monthly ARPU - 2003 - 2009
      • Zain Malawi (formerly Celtel)
        • Table Zain Malawi subscribers, market share and ARPU - 2006 - 2009
    • Third and fourth mobile licence
      • G-Mobile (GAIN)
    • Mobile data services
      • Table TNM GPRS/3G pricing - May 2010
    • Third generation (3G)

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