Malawi shortlists six firms for internet project

Internet

Malawi government through the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) has shortlisted at least six foreign companies earmarked to provide a fiber cable that will facilitate internet connectivity in the country.

A total of 14 companies submitted the bids, according to a PPPC statement titled update on the regional communications infrastructure program-Malawi project connectivity transaction.

PPPC and the World Bank are set to scrutinize the six firms, which are: China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation registered in China, GPEC INC in joint Venture with SK Telecom from USA and South Korea, Malawi Virtual Landing Point Joint Venture Consortium from South Africa, SimbaNET Tanzania Limited in association with Airtel Bharti registered in Tanzania and Singapore respectively, SK Broadband from South Korea, SolitonTelmec Limited registered in Kenya.

The project aims at improving the quality, availability and affordability of internet capacity within Malawi for both public and private users, and proving a long term solution connectivity solution (including internet) to the government and the public sector.

The invitation of the bids was commissioned after “a detailed feasibility study carried out by an independent consulting firm, demonstrated that the transaction as planned by the government was viable from the legal, technical and financial perspectives, and that it would not be bearing any undesirable contingent liabilities resultant from the project”, said the statement.

At the moment, Malawi spends close to US$36,000 per year to get internet connectivity, said PPPC Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Lipunga

The country also spends about US$3,000 per megabyte, per second every month to tap the broadband service from international satellites.

Meanwhile, PPPC officials say they will soon start receiving bids from the six firms for further evaluation.

The Malawi communications regulatory authority (MACRA) is expected to issue out a telecom operating license to the successful bidder by August this year.