Malawi’s mobile giant Airtel Malawi says it has completed a network upgrade exercise that has expanded its network coverage, data services and laid the groundwork for a yet-to-be-launched 4G package.

In a media release issued Monday, Airtel says the exercise ran from May to August 2017 and started with the cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre before proceeding to the rest of the country.

“So far 290 sites have been upgraded in the above cities. With these upgrades, our 36 data service has expanded to areas that previously did not have coverage and more customers are now able to access our data services. In addition, the cities have consequently experienced an unprecedented 30% increase in data traf?c during the first month of the upgrade,” said the release signed by Airtel’s Managing Director, Charles Kamoto.

Continued the release: “4G services have also been deployed in the cities and internal testing is in progress before commercial launch to be communicated soon. The launch of Airtel 4G will rede?ne customer experience of data services in the country.”

In a rare admission the network provider acknowledged the ‘intermittent call drops, silent calls as well as slower speed of internet in some pockets of the cities.’

“To fast track closure of the remaining service gaps in the cities, we have delayed progressing with upgrading the rest of the country in order to focus on ?ne-tuning the network and improving customer experience. The remaining areas of the country are planned to be upgraded from end September 2017 once the ?ne-tuning exercise in the cities is completed.

“We regret the discomfort experienced and sincerely thank our customers for their understanding. loyalty and perseverance. We know it has not been easy but the pain will soon be over and it will be time to enjoy the best Airtel network experience,” reads the release.

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