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Celcom granted extension

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The Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) has re-extended the roll-out period for Celcom by one year.

The mobile phone company is a subsidiary of Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL). The extension has been granted despite Macra making it clear in March this year that it would revoke the licence if the prospective fourth mobile company fails to roll out by July 28 this year.

In an e-mail response, Macra Communication officer Clara Mulonya said the board extended Celcom network roll out period from July 30, 2015 to July 29, 2016.

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“We executed a Roll out extension agreement with them for the period of the extension whereby Macra will continuously be monitoring their progress in terms of rolling out.

“Suffice to say if you have visited their Blantyre Offices near City Motors, you might have seen the progress in terms of the building which will house both their equipment and headquarters,” said Mulonya.

She added that in Lilongwe, Celcom has also made some strides towards rolling out and Macra hopes they will continue with the positive development.

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Celcom was granted a licence on April 29, 2011 to provide public telecommunication services in Malawi and was expected to roll out within 18 months from the day the licence was gazetted as per its licence terms and conditions.

In March this year, Macra told The Daily Times that the 18 months expired on October 28, 2012 at that time Celcom had not managed to provide the services as stipulated in the licence.

The deadline for roll-out was then extended to July 28 this year under specific roll-out extension obligation failing which Macra said the licence would be revoked under the Network Roll-out Extension Agreement and clause 27 of their licence.

Celcom fought off competition from three companies; Zambezi Africa Telecom; C-Mobile Holdings Limited and Smart Telecom Limited – for Malawi’s first technology-neutral licence.

By then the firm said it aimed to bring affordable wireless services to consumers, particularly in rural areas of the country.

On September 20, 2010 Macra revoked the operation licence it gave to Global Advanced Integrated Network (G-Mobile) after its failure to beat several deadlines set for the company to roll out.

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