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Interview: Telekom Networks Malawi CTO Lloyd Gowera on network expansion and 5G

Lloyd Gowera CTO of Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) spoke to Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert at the NOVACOM Digital Transformation Strategy Summit in Franschhoek, South Africa and shed some light on the mobile market in Malawi.

He revealed TNM's strategy for 4G growth and plans for a commercial 5G launch in the near future. He also spoke about strategies to make devices more affordable for local users and the challenges of maintaining a high quality and resilient mobile network.

TNM began testing 5G in May 2023 in Lilongwe and Blantyre and plans to roll out more 5G sites in the first quarter of 2024. The telco sees 5G potential both the enterprise and consumer markets.

Gowera said TNM is planning a "massive expansion drive" over the medium term and aims to boost population coverage on its network from 86% to above 95% over the next five years while also ramping up mobile money usage and financial inclusion.

He commented on the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority's (MACRA's) recent quality of service (QoS) project with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and how it impacts TNM.

Gowera also spoke about TNM's strategy around using satellite connectivity for mobile services and how it views the entrance of SpaceX's Starlink into Malawi - whether it is seen as a competitor or as a complementary service to help boost Internet penetration in the nation.

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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