Malawi Tele-communications Limited (MTL) has observed a massive reduction in prices of data connectivity since the fibre optic backbone was introduced in 2009.
The company‘s chief executive officer, Gavin Jeffery, indicated this in a recent interview with Business News.
He cited, for instance, that before the commissioning of the fibre optic backbone, a leased line of 128 kilobytes per second (Kbps) was charged at $784 (K274 400) per month, whereas currently the same bandwidth is offered from as low as $125 (K43 750) per month, indicating a significant drop of about 84 percent.
“Again, of notable innovations on the fibre backbone is the fact that, whereas before the installation of the fibre backbone, we could only offer a maximum of two megabytes (Mb) on point to point connectivity, we are now able to offer capacity in STMs [Synchronous Transport Module] where one STM is equivalent to 16 Mb. We currently offer a maximum of four STMs per customer, which is the largest request we have received, but we can offer more than this if required,” he said.
Pricing for data or internet is a function of demand, as the total demand grows, the prices reduce.
This is evidenced in the fact that the rate for one Mb dedicated Internet which was sold at $1 820 per month until end of last year, is now offered at $750 per month, according to the fixed telephone service provider’s chief executive officer.
“As the volume of data continues to increase, prices will drop further, acting as a further stimulus to the economy and bringing more people into the internet world,” said Jeffrey.
He noted that the fibre backbone has unlimited capacity which is sufficient to meet Malawi’s data and Internet demands.
MTL says currently it is using only a fraction of the total capacity.
On data, the fibre optic backbone has enabled MTL to position itself as a carrier’s carrier, thereby giving opportunities to other telecommunication players in the industry to transport their traffic from one point to the other with some using it as their major carrier and other as a backup carrier.
“Fibre optic backbone is the country’s asset that every telecommunications operator is using and not just MTL,” he said.
Jeffery said MTL has not leveraged the fibre optic cable as a competitive advantage, but rather as a stimulator of economic growth in the whole economy by supporting competition in the industry.
Fibre optic backbone is a reliable platform for data traffic transmission which has revolutionised communication in Malawi and connected Malawi globally.