Malawi telcos drop data prices
Malawi telecommunications companies Airtel Malawi and TNM have reduced the price of internet services in response to a month-long #DataMustFall social media campaign.
TNM announced a 70% reduction of its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) rate announced by CEO Michael Buitelaar during a launch of low cost smart phones in partnership with KaiOS in Lilongwe.
Buitelaar conceded that the reduction was in response to customer demand. “The initiative of reducing the pay as you go will open up to most mobile users to accessing valuable information within reach.”
TNM’s head of Marketing Communications Louis Chipofya added that data prices will fall if more people use data.
Airtel Malawi then followed with CEO Charles Kamoto confirming an increase in benefits with some bundles and a reduction in PAYG tariffs from MWK15/MB to MWK5/MB.
“We have listened very carefully to feedback from our customers and hope this increase in data benefits in the bundles goes a long way to helping our customers get the best possible value across all of our bundles," said Kamoto.
According to the company customers opting for a daily volume bundle for MWK100 will now receive 25MB per day, compared to the previous 15MB, whilst a MWK300 weekly bundle will secure 80MB, up 30MB from the previous bundle. MWK600 can now secure 175MB, up from the previous 150MB.
WhatsApp users will now enjoy a data volume weekly bundle of 120MB for MWK230, which previously purchased 90MB.
"Whilst monthly bundle customers will receive 500MB for K560, amounting to an extra 100MB per month. Customers opting for the K1000 bundle will also receive 1GB per month, an increase of 224MB per month," reads a statement issued by the company.
Minister of Information and government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said there is room for additional reduction and urged Airtel Malawi to consider removing expiry dates on several of its data products.
"The reduction needs to be commended as it would improve internet access on phones," he said.
Kazako is on record as having said previously that the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA)should investigate the issue of data prices because service providers complain of taxes, but charge high prices and make huge profits.