TNM plc has aside $30 million (K5 billion) for capital investment this year, a development that could increase their penetration and trigger tariffs drop, chief executive officer Willem Swart has said.
Speaking to journalists in Mangochi Friday when the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed companyâ€™s management met Parliamentâ€™s media and information committee, Swart defended the firmâ€™s tariffs structure, arguing that for the past few months they have â€œconsistently reduced tariffsâ€.
â€œOur priority at this stage is to spend money on building the redundancy and sustainability of the core network system [because] this is huge. We have 80 massive computer savers running in the core network. All of that needs to be duplicated in different locations so that whatever disaster that may strike, we should have network continuing,â€ he explained.
He said the company plans to boost network capacity to meet the demands of their growing subscriber base, with a plan to continue rolling out coverage in commercially viable areas and also invest heavily in areas that are not commercially viable.
Currently, he said the companyâ€™s penetration level on the local market is 30 percent but they plan to go up to 50 percent.
Swart said as long as they sustain profitability, they will continue to make investments that will result in their subscribers benefiting.
Like most of the companies in Malawi, TNM was also greatly affected by the twin shortages of foreign currency and fuel.
He said forex shortage has resulted in the company failing to pay their suppliers of equipment.
On fuel, he explained that TNM has 300 generators, costing the company more than $10 000 (K1.6 million) a month, to keep the generators.
On his part, chairperson of the committee Sam Ganda they interacted with TNM management to be briefed on their operations and also understand the challenges they are facing in their day-to-day work.
â€œWe wanted to be on top of things to understand their operations. We wanted to understand the in-depth operation of TNM,â€ he said.
The company registered a 24 percent increase in service revenue to K12.2 billion from K9.8 billion, in 2010.