MALAWI COMMUNICATIONS LAW 1998                                                                      MALAWI SDNP
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A    B I L L
An Act to make provision for the regulation and provision of services in the Communications Sector in Malawi comprising telecommunications, posts and broadcasting; for the establishment of an independent regulatory authority, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority; for the separation of the administration and provision of telecommunication services from postal services; for the reconstitution of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) as a public broadcaster; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto 

ENACTED by the Parliament of Malawi as follows-

Short title and Commencement 

B. No.17

l.-(I) This Act may be cited as the Communications Act, 1998.

(2) Save as provided in subsection (3), is Act shall come into force on a date to be appointed by the Minister by notice published in the Gazette, being a date occurring earlier to the transfer date.  

(3) Part VII and Part VIII of this Act shall come into force on the  
transfer date.  

2. In this Act unless the context otherwise requires-  

"Authority" means the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority established under section 3.;  

"broadcasting" means any form of telecommunication intended for general reception by the public by means of receivers adapted for the purpose;  

"broadcasting licence" means a radio licence that authorizes the provision of a broadcasting service;  

"broadcasting service" means a service consisting of the diffusion  of sound or television programmes for general reception by the public;  

"cable television network" means a telecommunication network  which is intended for the distribution of radio or television programmes to users through a system of lines and which is capable of, or of being adapted for, providing access to telecommunication services;  

"communication service" means any telecommunication service,  broadcasting service or postal service; 

"community broadcasting service" means a broadcasting service which-  
(a) serves a particular community;  
(b) is carried on for non-profitable purposes; and  
(c) is fully controlled by a non-profit entity. 

"coverage area" means the area in which a broadcasting service  is intended to be received;  

"Frequency allocation" means the reservation of one or more radio frequency bands for a particular use or particular uses;  

"frequency assignment" means the reservation of one or more radio frequencies for use by a particular person in accordance with  the table of national frequency allocations;  

"general licence" means a licence to operate a telecommunication  network or to provide a telecommunication service for which the person concerned does not require an explicit authorization by the authority before exercising the fights stemming from the licence;  


B. No. 17

6                                            Communications 

"immediate family member" in relation to any person, means that  person's spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, grandchild or grand-parent; 

"individual licence" means a licence to operate a telecommu-nication network or provide a telecommunication service issued by the Authority to a body corporate under Part III of this Act and which gives that person specific rights and obligations; 

"infrastructure" means any structure or facility installed and maintained for the purpose of the provision of a public utility service; 

"interconnection" means the physical and logical connection of telecommunication network in order to allow the users connected to one such network to have access to users connected to other networks or to access services provided by means of such other networks; 

"letter" means any communication in written form which- 
(a) is directed to a specific person or address; 
(b) relates to the personal, private or business affairs of, or the business affairs of the employer of, either correspondent; and 
(c) neither is to be nor has been transmitted by means of telecommunications,  

and includes any such other article transmissible by post which contains any such communication; 

"licence network" means a telecommunication network, the establishment or operation of which is authorized by a licence issued under this Act; 

"licencee" means the holder of a licence issued or deemed to have been issued under this Act or a person registered under a general licence issued under this Act; 

"line" means any wire, cable, equipment, tower, mast, antenna, tunnel, hole, pit, pole or other structure or thing used or intended to be used in connection with a telecommunication network; 

"mail" means letters and other articles in course of transmission by post; 

"Malawi Posts" means the body corporate by that name established under section 74; 

Act No. 29  
of 1994
"Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation" means the body corporate by that name established under the Malawi Posts of 1994 and Telecommunications Act, 1994, repealed by this Act; 
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                                                     Communications                                                        7 

    "Malawi Telecom" means a company by that name incorporated  
or to be incorporated under the Companies Act pursuant to section 70; 

   "MBC" means the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation established  
under section 86; 

 "message" means any communication sent or received or made by  means of telecommunication; 

   "National Communications Policy" means any statement made by  
the Minister under section 105; 

              "post" means any system for the collection, dispatch, conveyance, 
handling and delivery of letters, postcards, printed papers, commercial papers, samples, parcels or other similar articles; 

   "postal article" means any article in course of transmission by post; 

   "post office" means any building, house, room, receptacle, vessel, vehicle or place where postal articles are received, sorted, made up or dispatched; 

           "private broadcasting service" means a broadcasting service operated for profit and controlled by a person who is not a holder of a public broad-casting licence; 

   "Public Appointments Committee" means the Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly -established under section 56 (7) of the Constitution; 

  "public broadcasting service" means- 
(a) any broadcasting service provided by MPTC; or 
(b) any broadcasting service provided under a licence which 
        (i)  national or local transmission of- the broadcasting service; 
        (ii)  the provision of regular news bulletins; and 
        (iii)   access to the service for public information announcements or  
"public telecommunication network" means a telecommunication network used, in whole or in part, for the provision of telecommunication service to the public; 

            "radio-communication" means any telecommunication by meansof radio frequencies; 

 "radio-communication service" means any service for telecommunication by means of radio frequencies; 

                "radio frequencies" means electromagnetic waves of frequencies   arbitrarily lower than 3000 GHZ propagated in space without artificial guide;

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8                                                               Communications  

     "radio station" means any equipment, facility or system used or 
intended to be used for radio-communication; 
     "subscriber" means any person who has entered into a contract  
with an authorized provider of a telecommunication service which 
includes or requires the provision or maintenance of a connexion  
to a telecommunication network; 
     "telecommunication" means the emission, transmission or reception,  
through the agency of electricity or electromagnetism, 
of any sounds, signs, signals, writing, images, intelligence of any  
nature by wire, radio, optical or other electric or electromagnetic  
systems whether or not such signs, signals, writing, images, sounds 
or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or 
other processes by any means in the course of their transmission, emission 
or reception; 
     "telecommunication licence" means any licence to operate a teleco- 
mmunication network or provide a telecommunication service; 
     "telecommunication network" means transmission systems and, where 
applicable, switching equipment and other resources which permit theconveyance of signals between defined termination points by wire, by radio, by optical or other electric or electromagnetic means; 
      "telecommunication operator" means the operator of a teleco- 
mmunication network designated by the Authority under section 24; 
      "telecommunication service" means a service consisting wholly or partly  
in the transmission and routing of signals on a telecommunication  
network, with the exception of radio and television broadcasting;  
      "terminal equipment" means any equipment to be connected to 
a telecommunication network which is operated by a person duly 
licenced to provide a public telecommunication service; 
      "transfer date" means the date on which- 
(a) the telecommunications assets and undertakings of Malawi Posts 
     and Telecommunications Corporation are transferred to Malawi 
     Telecom as prescribed in section 71; 
(b) the postal assets and undertakings of the Malawi Posts and 
      Telecommunications Corporation are transferred to Malawi 
      Posts as prescribed in section 83; 
     "voice telephony" means the commercial provision for the public 
of the direct transport and switching of speech in-real time  
between public switched network termination points. 
of the Malawi 


B. No. 17
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