Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has announced that the country’s third licensed wireless operator, G-Mobile, has ten months to roll out operations before the regulator revokes its licence. G-Mobile, formerly known as Globally Advanced Integrated Networks (GAIN), was awarded its licence in July 2008, beating two other bidders, Global Telecom and Zimbabwe’s Econet. At the time, MACRA board chairperson, Thengo Maloya, said the country had high expectations for the new cellco, considering the disappointment Malawians have had with the quality of services offered by the two existing companies, Zain Malawi and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), which are characterised by high rates and dropped calls. MACRA has also warned the two operators that it would not hesitate to suspend them if they continue to offer substandard services. Maloya said conditions for all operators are clearly written in their licences and that there should be no excuse for the provision of poor services to consumers. He said: ‘We know that other countries are accessing much better services than us and we will not tolerate this. It is very unfair for a customer to be charged for a service that they do not access through dropped calls. We would like Malawians to enjoy full benefits of the technology.’
After receiving its licence, G-Mobile promised ‘first class’ telecoms services, announcing plans to invest USD40 million within the first five years of operations to expand its network to rural areas. The company has not yet announced a date for the commercial launch of its services.