Malawi mobile phone service providers hike tariffs

Malawians will continue digging deeper into their pockets as day after day costs of various social services continue escalating.

The latest tariff adjustment is coming from one of the country’s mobile phones services provider, Airtel Malawi.

The phone company says it is adjusting its calling and messaging rates by an average of 25 percent effective March 11, 2013.

The development comes barely a week after its rival, TNM Limited, also announced its tariff adjustment by an average 30 percent.

In a news statement, Airtel says the price adjustment is due to increased cost of doing business in the country following the devaluation of the Kwacha last year.

Mobile phone tariffs hike

Mobile phone tariffs hike

TNM also attributed the tariff hike to the 120 percent kwacha depreciation in the past year which resulted in significant increases in the cost base of the company.

Airtel says over the past few months, it has made every effort to ensure that its clients are not impacted by the increase in operational costs by maintaining its tariffs but it has reached a point that in order to continue providing quality services, it has to revise the rates.

The company further says while it believes that tariffs for telecommunication services must be made more affordable for the customers, the tariffs must also support the sustainability of the
operators and their ability to continue to develop new services and technologies.

However, Airtel declares that despite the adjustment, it will continue to offer its customers the most reliable services possible through various services such as Yabooka.

Speaking to a local daily, Economic Empowerment Action Group (EEAG) President Lewis Chiwalo said the adjustments have come at a better time when Parliament has just recommended to government the implementation of the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) dubbed as ‘spy machine’.

Chiwalo said the development gives room for government to justify the price hikes using the CIRMS.

“This will be a litmus test for the machine as its main aim is to monitor phone tariffs. This is the chance to prove all critics wrong and show the nation the benefits of the machine by justifying if it is really necessary to have the tariffs increased this time around,” he told Daily Times.

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