Local human rights and consumer activist, John Kapito has urged Malawi regulatory Authority (Macra) to take urgent action to tackle overcharging by mobile phone companies.
Kapito said r the country has witnessed mobile phone “rip-off” with unjustified increase in tariffs for voice and data services.
Recently, the leading mobile-phone service provider, Airtel Malawi hiked its Blackberry services with
Telekoms Network Malawi (TNM) about to follow suit.
Kapito Executive Director for the consumers’ watch-dog, the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) said tariffs offered by the service providers are high comparing to other countries within the region.
“It is has been noted that the actual usage of mobile services in Malawi does not correspond with advertised mobile tariffs, and in most cases consumers have been forced to pay for poor services which include drop-calls, intermittent internet service and increased service outages,” Kapito lamented.
Kapito said the higher tariffs are abusive and discriminatory and are affecting the growth of mobile service sector, and also affecting the economic and social rights of many Malawians.
“We are, therefore, requesting the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to play its key role to ensure that mobile service providers are not taking advantage of the poor Malawians.
“We expect such information from the regulator to be communicated to consumers on continuous basis as and when tariffs are unfairly increased, and as and when consumers continue to experience continued poor delivery of service,” said Kapito.
He argued that affordable mobile service tariffs would increase the volume of subscribers in a country where less than 4 million of the 15 million people do have access to mobile-phones.
Mobile service in Malawi is now not only limited to voice and data, but it is also intended for financial inclusion where both rich and poor Malawians are now able to use mobile service technology to bank money, to send money, to pay for bills and any other related financial