Macra bemoans phones rip-off: Launches Malawi consumer awareness campaign

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has bemoaned the conduct of some operators in the communication sector who deliberately hide information to consumers in order to maximize their profits.

Macra launching  Consumer Awareness Campaign

Macra launching Consumer Awareness Campaign

Kumbatira during the commemoration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at Blantyre Youth Centre

Kumbatira during the commemoration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at Blantyre Youth Centre

Speaking during the commemoration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at Blantyre Youth Centre, Macra’s Director General, Andrew Kumbatira noted that some operators were taking advantage of consumers’ failure to speak up on some of the abuses they face at the hands of the service providers.

Kumbatira said: “Some of the operators in the communication sector get away with market abuses as a result of our silence as consumers. If we collectively speak up, we are going to force them to take notice of the myriad challenges that we are experiencing.”

He cited issues of high mobile phone tariffs and increase in cases of dropped calls and network congestion as some of the disheartening and discouraging challenges consumers continue to experience in the country.

Recetly, the country’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) forced one of the country’s mobile service providers, Telecoms Networks Malawi (TNM) to postpone its intended 14 percent tariffs hike.

Cama branded the tariffs hike as daylight robbery, arguing the increment was purely to maximize the company’s profits despite expectations from consumers for the company to drop its tariffs due to the economic gains the country has recorded.

And Kumbatira He assured consumers that the communication regulator would deal with the challenges they were currently experiencing by, among other things, encourage competition in the communication sector by removing all barrier to entry and welcoming new players onto the market.

He added: “We will also make sure that you get the best value of the money you invest in the purchase of airtime, data and other communication services.”

Macra was recently cleared by the Supreme Court to start implementing the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) also known as ‘spy machine’ and Kumbatira said the machine will, among other functions, going to monitor quality of service in the sector including assessing the level of network congestion and dropped calls.

Meanwhile, Macra has launched a Consumer Awareness Campaign aimed at helping consumers know their rights. The communications regulator is expected, under the campaign, to cover all regions of the country interacting and creating awareness among consumers of their rights.

Kumbatira has since called on consumers to speak up and use existing channels to report cases of abuses or complaints they have concerning service providers, adding consumer protection was high on Macra’s
regulatory agenda and that it will continue to introduce a number of initiatives aimed at promoting consumer welfare.

Cama Executive Director, John Kapito said consumers in the country need to exercise their rights to demand better services from the providers.

Kapito said it was disheartening that government was failing to put up mechanisms as required by the law to operationalize the Consumer Protection Act (2003) that was enacted solely to protect the rights of consumers, address the interests and needs of consumers.

Macra commemorated this year’s World Consumer Rights Day under the theme ‘Speak Up’.

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21 thoughts on “Macra bemoans phones rip-off: Launches Malawi consumer awareness campaign”

  1. kumbatira kaphale says:

    The problem is also here at MACRA. We charge the operators very high fees in licences per year…And guess what!; we spend that money globe trotting (everyone here from Messenger flies to international conferences/meetings). We are hardly in Malawi but busy attending conference after conference abroad. We don’t even invite the operators to attend and benefit from these conferences and meetings…Ofcourse we also donate to the ruling party of the day. The operators are paying a lot for the licences and they have to make up for that. I challenge my organisation, MACRA, to reduce the licence fees, remove interconnection charges and let’s stop globe trotting that does not benefit the operators and consumers!!!

  2. titus Scoti says:

    Inu a MACRA lero mufuna muoneke abwino? Where have you been all these years? Or should we say it is Kumbatira who has seen that these telecoms providers are ripping off the consumers? Telecom Networks have been here since 1996 azitinamiza kuti they are still investing in capital assets, mpakana liti? Kuba basi! MACRA should indeed intervene. CIRMS ilowe m’bwalo.

  3. muropwana says:

    Mesa munkakana chi machine cha Bingu inu and you called it a spy machine? Ndizimenezotu. The poorest country with the heighest tarrifs. Muzova.

  4. Chikopa says:

    I have never join aitel friends chat but the kept deduct k150 every month and amangokuza kuti kuti mulowe pangani mwakuti ,nanga osatiuza kuti mutuluke pangani mwakuti kundibela ine ndilimaso waaaa

  5. jesus is lord says:

    Same old stories everyday what a joke of a Nation we are.

  6. charlie hebdo says:

    Service providers ripping off consumers…. ah, maybe we in Malawi were meant to suffer like this.. l wish just to take Multichoice Mw as an example. Their Dstv charges are higher here than in RSA. Why should we have rate variance? I dont understand

  7. Chabecheker says:

    Extra charges on blackberry service is banditry and theft by these mobile phone operators as well. Plz mara do something to stop this unjustifiable practice

  8. mboba says:

    Tnm are robbers and Airtel is the best

  9. Ganamba says:

    That’s the end result when politics is at play. These are areas we need reforms.

  10. My word to MACRA: Macra, you are a regulator and not a service provider. As you try to inform Malawians of their rights, you also need to consider policies that should govern the telecom industry. There should exist a legal framework that will guide the ISPs in conducting their business here in Malawi. You understand?

  11. timmy says:

    they are bastards, they dont know how to run the org. umbatama ndiwo udakula

  12. Original Northerner says:

    We want more service providers like MTN. Another thief is DSTV the charge in dollars why?

  13. Here we go again says:

    what mechanism are you talking about macra has been there since indipendence these operators has stealing from us since introduction. Poorest country paying high mobile tarrifs why?

  14. mwana wamzako says:

    what r our rights? tell us you CAMA! we are mercilessly ripped off. we complain, but individually our complaints hold no water. the perpetrators of this oppression are
    you cama and the govt by not allowing competitors like vodacom and mtn.

  15. gogoda says:

    Nkhani yakuti Malawi is highest expensive spender interms of phone consumtion u are saiing 56% while in mocambique friends are enjoying coverag despti mw being poorest my question to macra why do u hinder those companies like vodacom ntm m cell operate in Malawi how much bribe do u get from airtel tnm etc What I know if can allow more competative definately there will be more suppply than demand which resulted into low price

  16. kajedza says:

    Look who is talking

    What about MPC which kept increasing the rental charges fo its services every year by 300 to 1000%. Being a monopoly service provider , it took advantage and fleeced the customers. What did Competition & Fair Trade commission do about it. Nothing

  17. lol says:

    I wish ‘ Winiko’ was our president, he is more intelligent than our current president – this could have end.

  18. The Sublime says:

    What “existing” is the DG talking about? This is where the consumer awareness exercise was supposed to start from.

  19. Nyotso says:

    who can give me kapito’s mobile number

    1. Nyotso says:

      I bought a fn at tnm which did not satisfy the advertised standard so I decided to exchange it but unfortunately theydid not hv a replacement so I demanded my money back but they are not giving back its almost two months now where can I go ? please those in the know assist me

  20. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    I am turned off by MACRA’s lack of action to effect fair pricing by the greedy Telcos we have in this country. We need action, not words or discussions. We’ve been getting ripped off for too long.
    APM should consider replacing some of the deadwood in MACRA: nothing we can really point to as benefitting us due to MACRA – in the area of pricing in, or the quality of wireless!

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