Wholly Malawian-owned new mobile service provider Malcel Plc promises best customer experience as it becomes 6th operator

* MACRA officially presents it with 3 licenses that have successfully been gazetted in Parliament

* Minister of Information Kazako prays that this will induce competition in the telecommunications industry

* Which will level the playing field and yield effective communication services for the ICT consumer

* I urge Malcel to roll out their services with speed as consumers are anxious to see new services

By Duncan Mlanjira

New mobile service provider Malcel Plc, which has officially been presented with 3 operating licenses by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) — that have successfully been gazetted in Parliament — promises best customer experience as it becomes the sixth operator in the sector.


Malcel Plc, a wholly Malawian-owned company, joins five other mobile service provider — TNM, Airtel Malawi, MTL, Access and Nyasa Mobile — and its chief executive officer and a founding member, Boniface Ndawala, pledged that they have on board a team of talented experts who have vast experience in the mobile service industry.

At the official presentation of the licenses at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel on Thursday night that was graced by Minister of Information & Digitalization, Gospel Kazako, Ndawala — who has over 22 years of experience in the industry having worked with Celtel Malawi and in several African countries — gave the confidence that they crafted the company to suit the needs of all Malawians.

“Having had so much experience in the industry in many African countries, I saw it fit that East or West, home is best,” he said. “It was time to build the industry back home after learning from the experiences abroad.

“Malcel is a dream realised in Malawi, Malcel was crafted in Malawi and it will be executed to the expectations of Malawians, who have been overcharged for far too long.

“So, here I am, a prodigal son who has returned — but not empty handed but with a gift that promises beautiful customer experience through excellent services.”


In congratulate Malcel for successfully acquiring its 3 licenses — Individual Application Service, Individual Network Service and Individual Facilities — Minister Kazako said it was his hope that the new player “will induce competition in the telecommunications industry which will level the playing field and yield effective communication services for the ICT consumer”.

“This is one of those occasions that give a sigh of relief when we are witnessing more players joining the race in increasing the government’s efforts in increasing participation in the ICT Sector.

“I urge Malcel to roll out their services with speed as consumers are anxious to see new services as stated in your remarks. My plea is that you must not get into the trap of concentrating your operations in urban areas because rural people also need ICT services.”

Minister Kazako

Kazako assured Malcel of the government’s support in its business operations, saying his Ministry “envisages a strong digital footprint for a vibrant digital economy and such strides assure us that we are in the right direction.”

In his remarks, MACRA Board chairperson, Stanley Khaila described the occasion “a commendable milestone in the telecommunication industry with the issuance of the 6th telecommunication operator”.  

“MACRA has done its part of awarding the licence, it is our expectation that Malcel will also do its part by rolling out its services within its timelines and is able to compete with the other players.”

Daud Suleman

Guests included players in the industry such as Airtel’s MD Charles Kamoto

MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman assured the guests and the general public that the regulatory engagement process with Malcel, that started in earnest from December, 2021, “was very rigorous but they came out good”.

“They have satisfied all regulatory requirements that allowed the licenses to be gazetted in Parliament,” he said. “We hope that the tempo you have demonstrated will continue and that you will roll out as soon as possible.”

He indicated that from a population of about 21 million people with a mobile service subscription of 12 million, “there is a lot of opportunity in the market as it is not saturated”.


In our earlier engagement with the founding member soon after MACRA approved the licenses and were sent to be gazetted, Ndawala indicated that they would commence formal operations with the first call made on their network in 4th quarter of 2023.

On ownership, the new player in the telecommunications industry is in partnership with a couple of companies that include Bedrock Holdings — a Malawian company comprising local telecoms executives and Bedrock Holdings that owns 30% and Danish company, Eferio Communications Limited which own 60% and the remaining 10% being earmarked for other local and foreign shareholders.

He added that they have also registered a mobile money company named MCASH, which will be used as a vehicle for enhancing financial inclusion in Malawi, saying: “We will deploy Fintech Solutions that address people’s every day needs as we are coming into the market as a solutions-based digital network provider.”

On business competition they are set to meet against the existing top two mobile service providers, Airtel and TNM, Ndawala had said: “We welcome such competition in the market place — that is always a good thing for the customers.

“We want to give Malawians a real third alternative so we will fight on service to the subscribers. Whoever has the best service, which leads to the best customer experience, will have the edge in this fight.

“We have a very robust plan, we will deploy the best technology on the market, we aim to match the network coverage of the two incumbent operators with a planned 1,300 sites over 5 years.

“We know the market very well, we know the industry very well, we are incredibly well-funded and above all we have assembled a robust, formidable and very experienced team to execute that plan.”

MACRA also granted SDNP authorization to manage and administer the Country Code Top Level Domain (CCTLD), which will assist Malawians to begin using dot mw (.mw) emails and websites on Malawi domains.