MACRA to roll out ‘Yathu Yathu’ data network

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is set to roll out a community brand band network known as Yathu Yathu data across the country as one way of ensuring that Malawians have access to reasonably priced data.

MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman, disclosed this in Mangochi on Tuesday during a training of community broadband operators.

The operators will help the Authority in providing a test to the new model on a pilot phase in eight districts across the country.

Suleman said the coming in of Yathu Yathu data will help to bring a competitive market on data thereby allowing Malawians access to affordable data bundles and access to internet.

“Very soon people will see a network on their mobile phone called Yathu Yathu. Click that network, as it will connect and direct you to buy a bundle electronically. This is an affordable bundle compared to other data available in the country.

Suleman speaking during the event. Pic by Lyte Ali-Mana

“This means that on top of the mobile data provided by TNM and Airtel networks, there is an alternative which a customer can choose from. We hope that the coming in of Yathu Yathu network brings competitive markets, pricing and affordable networks for access to data bundles,” he said.

Yathu Yathu data will be operated by cooperatives in order to allow rural and hard to reach areas across the country access the network service.

So far we eight cooperatives have been registered and will start operating the network in the piloted districts. 

“This will help to test the model where we want to ensure that even rural and hard to reach areas have access to internet,” said Suleman.

Chairperson for one of the licensed cooperatives, Click and Connect Cooperative, Kettie Kamwangala, commended MACRA for the initiative saying it will help create more jobs in the digital industry.

“Apart from that, more Malawians, mostly in the rural areas, will now have access to data. This service has already started creating employment to most people in the digital industry.

“As such, we will make sure to bring the service closer to people that do not have enough money to spend on data,” said Kamwangala.

In Malawi, 80 percent of the population live in rural areas where internet penetration is a challenge.

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