The 5G rollout in Malawi is about to start, although there are several obstacles on its way. The country is among the least developed nations worldwide and is also riddled with infrastructural problems. Less than 50% of the population owns a smartphone, and mobile internet coverage is faulty.
Yet, the rollout goes on, and one district after the other, the country is setting up its 5G network. What does the situation look like right now? Learn more here.
Entering the Digital Age: The Rise of Online Gambling in Malawi
As internet coverage is expanded in the country, Malawians have more access to the enjoyments of the digital age. Social media, online shopping, and online gambling are more available to Malawians than ever. Such a beneficial development is boosting sales and other kinds of online interaction. In fact, there are so many options for online gambling sites that we advise you to compare online casinos before making up your mind.
Giants like Huawei have already implemented the infrastructure in a few districts. The structure includes fibres, towers, and connection points. Mobile internet can be a tool for reducing the worst effects of social inequality.
With a smartphone connected to the internet, patients in remote areas can have appointments and even some diagnoses. Wide mobile coverage can also help bridge the country’s educational gap, powering initiatives like EduTech.
Another issue challenging the expansion of this network is the uneven coverage and infrastructure around the country. While big cities like Zomba and Blantyre are fully covered, the coverage in Rumphi, Mzimba, and Chipita is nearly 75%, at best. In Mzimba, broadband coverage reaches only 27% of the area.
Creating New Consumers
Over 83% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, but 13.8% of Malawians have one. It poses a considerable challenge for mobile operators since there are so few customers in the market. However, the national government has ambitious plans for the niche. The primary goal is to make fast internet access to 80% of the population by 2026.
For such, the government plans to revise fees and taxes imposed on smartphones so that any Malawian can have one. There’s also an initiative from 2019 called USF, or Universal Service Fund. This fund was created for investing in telecom infrastructure, and it’s maintained by telecom operators in the country.
The USF also funds solar kits in regions without access to electricity. It means some areas don’t even have the basic requirement for powering any mobile network. According to a five-year plan called Universal Service Strategic Plan, 1,152 institutions will be served unlimited broadband. Also, 720,000 Malawians will have access to mobile internet.
Airtel Malawi is already investing heavily in the expansion in the rural areas, which are among the most underserved. Anyway, the expansion of the Malawian online market depends on people having access to the internet. 4G network began to be rolled out in 2016 and is still inaccessible from many parts of the country. So, 5G implementation is expected to take even longer.
The Malawian government seems focused on its implementation and viability nonetheless. In fact, the national government partnered with the Chinese giant Huawei for some of its most ambitious projects. Last year, the company trained 50 Malawian ICT students in their facilities. They learn about subjects like 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and other hot tech trends.
Investing in ICT is the key to joining the current industrial revolution. Furthermore, any country unable to follow up will be mostly left aside from technological progress. Such training programs play a vital role in the government’s pursuit of making the internet widely available. Meanwhile, Malawi still has one of the most expensive internet services on the continent. Besides, smartphones remain above the financial capabilities of the average Malawian.
Paving the Way
The 4G network already covers large parts of the country, and the time seems ripe for stepping ahead. More 5G smartphones will hit the shelves soon, pushing for faster implementation of this network. Regulators plan to slash taxes on smartphones to make them more affordable. Yet, mobile ownership in the country remains quite small.
Still, the situation should change shortly if the Universal Service Strategic Plan is applied successfully. After all, this plan will almost double the figures related to mobile internet usage and ownership in five years.
Part of the groundwork has already been done by the existing telecoms operating in the country. It includes cables, fibre, towers, connection points, and more. Once the infrastructure is set and smartphones made available, millions of avid consumers are ready to join the market.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :