Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics - Malawi

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Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

Currency devaluation causing continuing difficulties for telcos

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Malawi's telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Mobile data services, including 3G;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU).

Malawi is one of the world's least developed countries, but after a poor economic performance during the last two years GDP is expected to grow at above 5% for 2013. Telcos have been affected by the currency devaluation imposed in mid-2013, which has delayed their ability to fund network upgrades. In addition, the government in mid-2013 instituted a tax on internet services, the additional cost of services being passed on to consumers.

Mobile penetration remains very low in comparison to the African average, which allows for considerable opportunities for further growth. The market remains a duopoly between Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) and Telecom Networks Malawi (TNM) given the failure of the potential third mobile operator, G-Mobile, to launch services. The operator's continuing delays encouraged the telecom regulator to revoke the company's licence in 2013.

To encourage additional market competition, the government has followed in the footsteps of several of its neighbours and introduce a converged licensing regime which now allows the two fixed-line operators, Malawi Telecommunications (MTL) and Access Communications (ACL) to enter the mobile market as well. Both are already operating CDMA-based fixed-wireless networks which support full mobility and broadband access using EV-DO technology.

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 extending their WiMAX wireless broadband footprints. 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 recently gained access to international submarine fibre optic cables for the first time when a transit link via neighbouring countries was 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.

Estimated market penetration rates in Malawi's telecoms sector end 2013
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 33%
Fixed | 1.6%
Internet | 5.7%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Key developments:

Regulator announces plans to introduce SIM card registration by the beginning of 2015; TMN reports strong revenue recovery; Airtel Money registers over 500,000 users; converged licensing regime expected to boost competition; Airtel Malawi receives ten-year licence renewal; national fibre rollout; international fibre access helping develop the broadband market; white space spectrum trials to increase broadband availability; SimbaNeET contracted to build and operate a fibre-optic cable linking Lilongwe with Tanzania; market developments to mid-2014.

Companies covered in this report:

Malawi Telecommunications Ltd (MTL); Access Communications Ltd (ACL); Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel); Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM); G-Mobile (GAIN); Celcom Ltd; Escom; MalawiNet; MTL Online; Skyband;Globe Internet; Broadmax; Burco.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Market analysis 2013
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Malawi Communications Act 1998
4.1.1 Malawi Communications Amendment Act
4.2 ICT Policy
4.3 Regulatory authority
4.3.1 Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)
4.4 Telecom sector liberalisation in Malawi
4.5 Converged licensing regime 2011
4.6 Universal service
4.7 Interconnection
5. Fixed network operators in Malawi
5.1 Malawi Telecommunications Ltd (MTL)
5.1.1 Privatisation
5.1.2 Fixed-line statistics
5.1.3 Network infrastructure
5.1.4 CDMA fixed-wireless system (Liberty Phone)
5.2 Access Communications
6. National fibre backbone infrastructure
6.1 MTL
6.2 Escom
7. International infrastructure
7.1 Submarine cable networks
8. Internet market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Internet statistics
8.2 Malawi's ISP market
8.2.1 MalawiNet
8.2.2 MTL Online
8.2.3 Skyband
8.2.4 Globe Internet
8.3 VoIP
9. Broadband market
9.1 ADSL
9.2 EV-DO
9.3 White-space spectrum
9.4 WiMAX, WiFi
9.4.1 Broadmax
9.4.2 Skyband
9.4.3 GlobeMax
9.4.4 eWiMAX
9.4.5 MiNET
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Malawi's mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Major mobile operators
10.2.1 TNM
10.2.2 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel)
10.3 Third and fourth mobile licence
10.3.1 G-Mobile (GAIN)
10.3.2 Celcom Malawi
10.4 Mobile data services
10.4.1 M-commerce
10.5 Third generation (3G)
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecasts mobile market 2014; 2017
11.2 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Malawi 2013
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2013 (e)
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2013
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2013 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2013 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 MTL financial data 2012
Table 8 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Malawi 1999 - 2004
Table 9 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Malawi 2005 - 2014
Table 10 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate 1999 - 2013
Table 11 Internet users and penetration rate 2005 - 2013
Table 12 Fixed broadband subscribers 2007 - 2013
Table 13 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Malawi 1999 - 2004
Table 14 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Malawi 2005 - 2014
Table 15 TNM financial results 2009 2013
Table 16 TNM ARPU 2003 - 2012
Table 17 Forecast mobile subscribers in Malawi 2014; 2017
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Malawi 2005 2014
Chart 2 Internet users and penetration rate 2005 2013
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2002 - 2014
Chart 4 TNM financial results 2009 2013

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