Market Research Report
Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
|Malawi - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses|
Published: June 1, 2022
Content info: 93 Pages
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
Calls for Malawi to reduce high telecom taxes
Malawi's telecom infrastructure remains underdeveloped, while progress towards extending the reach of services is hindered by the limited capacity of the electricity grid, especially in rural areas.
A national fibre backbone has been built to connect all 28 districts in the country. Started in May 2017, the first phase of the project, running to 1,320km, was completed in 2018. The second phase, running to 2,800km, was started in June 2021. This phase also included a new data centre, and connected an additional 29 cities.
Malawi is linked to the national telecom network of Tanzania, and through this it has onward connectivity to Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia.
However, capacity remains low and as a result the wholesale price for bandwidth is high, despite several successful orders obliging the telcos to reduce costs for end-users.
An additional burden is the high tax for telecom services. The 17.5% tax on mobile phone sales introduced in 2015 is considered one of the main reasons why Malawi has low smartphone take-up. In January 2022 the Malawi Confederations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the ICT Association of Malawi called on the government to reduce taxes imposed on ICT services. These taxes, together with spectrum fees and annual licence fees paid by operators, have raised the cost of internet services and thus contributed to them being unaffordable for a significant proportion of the population.
The telecom regulator in August 2021 published a report which noted the economic boost to be gained if the estimated two million people who had no access to the internet were connected, so enabling them to take part in the digital economy. The report influenced the government to adopt a five-year universal services strategy, under which some 720,000 Malawians are to be connected to broadband, while 1,300 institutions will be provided with Wi-Fi.