MACRA’s Latest Bid to License New Cellco Hits Stumbling Block
According to a report by local daily Nyasa Times, the board of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is unsure whether to declare Comium Malawi the successful bidder of the country’s fourth mobile licence, as the company has links to President Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughters. ‘If this goes ahead it will be corruption of some sort, Comium Malawi should not get it because it was not the best company,’ a top level MACRA source said.
MACRA launched an international tender for a fourth wireless licence earlier in the year, after two previous attempts to introduce new players in the market failed. The country’s third mobile licence holder, Global Advanced Integrated Networks (GAIN, or G-Mobile), is currently facing the revocation of its permit after repeatedly missing the rollout deadlines stipulated by its licence, while in October 2009 the government suspended two licences – awarded to Lacell of Singapore and the UAE’s Expresso Telecom in April 2009 – following legal concerns that the regulator had issued a pair of concessions, but had only advertised one for sale.