American investment banking and financial services firm, Sterling Merchant Finance Limited (SMFL), plans to invest about K80 billion to introduce a 4G mobile and Internet service in Malawi.
SMFL senior managing director, Roger Jantio, confirmed the firm’s plans to Weekend Nation in an interview in New York, United States last week, saying he will be in the country together with his officials next week to finalise the details related to the deal.
“We are ready to invest over $200 million ( about K80 billion) to contribute towards the socio-economic development of Malawi through an upgraded telecommunication platform,” said Jantio.
A deal was struck in New York under which an American communications company, SkyMax, will invest about $100 million (about K40 billion) in Internet and telephone services in Malawi.
President Peter Mutharika’s chief economic adviser Dr Collins Magalasi, who played a role in securing the deal, said the introduction of a 4G platform was welcome news to Malawi because it will facilitate e-learning besides providing ordinary telecommunication services.
“When the 4G platform is finally rolled out in Malawi we will be able to connect secondary schools, colleges and other institutions of higher learning and get them to be online, which is the intention of government,” said Magalasi.
He added: “Under the same package of the deal, we will also be able to provide tablets to students in these institutions to facilitate e-learning. This is the information age and we need to upgrade the means for teaching and learning.”
4G, short for fourth generation, is the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology, after 3G and preceding 5G.
A 4G system, in addition to the usual voice and other services of 3G, provides mobile broadband Internet access, for example, to laptops with wireless modems, to smartphones and to other mobile devices.
4G services make it much quicker to surf the web on a mobile phone, tablets and laptops – the speeds being nearer to what one currently experiences with home broadband.
Because of this, 4G is ideally suited for services which demand more capacity such as video streaming, mapping and social networking sites.
Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D television, and cloud computing.
Incorporated in 1989, SMFL provides a full spectrum of investment banking and high calibre financial and economic advisory services to governments, international organisations and corporations active in emerging markets.
In pursuit of its mission to further economic development by encouraging the growth of productive private enterprises, the firm uses its specialised knowledge of emerging markets to provide a range of sophisticated services to guide its private and public sector clients toward long term growth.
Sterling Merchant Finance’s sister company is Sterling International Group, Inc, an international consulting and project management company also active in emerging countries.
The group provides economic development solutions to businesses and governments worldwide. It has successfully completed hundreds of assignments including surveys, studies and evaluations, market researches, sector and country analyses, and technical assistance designs.
Sterling Growth Fund is the Group’s off-shore unit investment trust, focused on African equities and projects.
Given the reluctance of banks to increase their exposure to some African countries and the shortage of equity capital, the fund was created to open export-oriented and infrastructure business opportunities.