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New framework to boost ICT industry

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The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) on Monday unveiled the converged licensing framework (CLF) which seeks to remove bottlenecks and allow the entry of more players in the ICT sector.

The framework, which comes into effect on September 1, is a new technology and service neutral regulatory model to licensing that focuses on a horizontal approach with emphasis on the distinct layers of ICT service provision such as facilities (infrastructure), network and applications.

This is in contrast to the traditional vertical approach where service providers were licensed across all ICT service layers under one licence.

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Speaking in Blantyre on Monday, Macra Director General, Godfrey Itaye, said the convergence of technology comprises both technical and functional aspects.

Itaye said while the traditional vertical licensing approach has assisted in the growth of the sector over the years, the pace of technology change has necessitated the introduction of CLF to further fast track the process.

He said, among others, the CLF would help in the reduction of barriers to entry in the market with the introduction of walk-in applications.

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“The CLF will also help to increase the operational efficiency for licensees allowing the service providers to focus on their core business. In addition, it would help in the facilitation of competition in the sector across various licence layers and provision of a platform for value added services in the sector.

“The new framework would also help in the facilitation of the promotion of universal ICT access by allowing regional and district licences across all service layers,” said Itaye.

He added that the new framework would help in the enhancement of regulatory monitoring and assurance of improved consumer protection.

“It would also help in the facilitation of the introduction of new and emerging services thereby allowing consumers a wider variety and choice of service thus enhancing quality of service in the sector,” said Itaye.

He said, in adopting the new framework, Macra undertook wide consultations with all stakeholders from 2014.

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