Ready, steady, spy machine! Malawi to roll out CIRMS in Jan 2016 – MACRA

The Consolidated (ICT) Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) –widely known as Spy Machine – that has for the past four years received some resistance from certain quarters including the country’s phone operators will finally come into effect in January next year, Malawi’s communications regulatory body has said after the High Court in Zomba vacated TNM’s order that stopped the regulator from using it.

Itaye: The Cirms will be  ready in 90 days

Itaye: The Cirms will be ready in 90 days

Malawi introduced CIRMS in 2011 but the system has received serious resistance that included court battles from operators who branded it “the spy machine”.

TNM obtained a stay order earlier this year stopping Macra from implementing the system, arguing Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA decision to implement Cirms was unreasonable because there was no legal framework for its implementation.

But Justice Redson Kapindu of Zomba High Court registry dismissed the judicial review and stay of execution by TNM against the implementation of the ‘spy machine’.

The regulator’s Legal Services Director , James Kaphale, said the judge ruled last week Thursday giving Macra a lee way to roll out the machine.

“As Macra we are excited with the development as the case has delayed the implementation of the CIRMS,” Kaphale told Nyasa Times.

MACRA Director General, Godfrey Itaye has said that come January 2016 CIRMS will be operational.

Itaye, who has labelled the development as a great empowerment to MACRA, explains that as a regulator, MACRA will be in a better position to monitor telecommunication operators in order to ensure that consumers get value for money services.

“The CIRMS will enable MACRA to ensure that customers get quality service, improve in revenue collection, ensure fraud control as well as spectrum management and allocation,” he said Tuesday this week.

MACRA wonders why some mobile operators resist the implementation of the CIRMS machine a development that has delayed Malawi from advancing in this needful technological direction in this age of technology advancement. He also said that CIRMS is also there for their own.

“The operators will be able to realize more revenue as bypass calls will be put in check as well as less frequency interference which will mean quality service on top of ensuring top quality service standards due to constant monitoring, “he said, adding that once CIRMS is in operation consumers of telecommunication services will be enjoying high quality service standards while the government will be collecting more revenue.

Currently MACRA relies on data provided by the service operators themselves hence the need for independent validated data that CIRMS will be able to provide.

With the ‘spy machine’ MACRS  will be able to arbitrate any network traffic disputes, creating new technical frameworks for number portability and more, noted Itaye.

“Malawi is not the first to adopt the system as countries like Rwanda, Gambia, Guinea, Congo Brazzaville are already using it while Uganda and Ghana are in the process of adopting,” said Itaye.

He says or MACRA, the revenue realized will enhance and advance its ability to manage the dynamic telecommunication industry effectively and efficiently through the more revenue realized.


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Regulation is very necessary. Personally I think we need such a system as the said CIRMS in place. However I have some caveats. The premise on which TNM obtained the injunction is one such caveat. It is pertinent and it should really have been we, the ordinary citizenry, who should have been asking such questions. 1) Do we have a framework under which the CIRMS would be operated? In the absence of such I am afraid we stand to have our rights violated and we would have a hard time seeking redress when that happens. Going to court would be… Read more »
mnyamata wa nzeru

This is what we need as a nation. Now we need to move towards mandatory sim card registraion and we need to have a clear stand-point on VOIP.

The problem is that Malawian institutions are not good at public awareness. After four years we have never seen the said machine…not on TV or even a photo. By now we needed to know what is it used for. What do we gain that we have the said machine? How does it work? For how long will it operate? Etc…we need to educate the general public on things like these. Again much as I can appreciate we do not have national IDs…we needed to start registering phone numbers. This practice of buying phone cards from street insert in a phone… Read more »

I like our leaders interest in drawing parallels from the other countries. But unfortunately they only pick on things that face resistance. Why don’t you also copy better pay from Zambia, South Africa and other countries which take very good care of workers. We have not yet initiated something for others to copy and apply.



This is good lets have sanity in this country of goold


Rights to privacy broken


The machine is of great purpose to both the mobile phone operators and subscribers. Those that have been resisting ushering it raise suspicions on how they conduct there business. It is used in most countries where IT has taken shape.Its in Malawi we have given it the name of being a spy machine as if its intended to spy. It levels the playing field between operators and subscribers by helping mediators (macra) in tracing any fishy business. A big welcome to the warmheart of Africa.


How old is the machine? What’s the payback period? azimisili muli nawo?
Do not create network interruptions and blackouts, ife business yathu ndi ya phone.

We do not want to see rates being raised because of this machine.

Titus scot

Machine mpaka kuchita dzimbiri komanso the programme requires upgrading I suppose, ndalama zinanso zimenezi. Adzalipire a Tnm et al!


If journalists don’t know what CIRMS is then it is very unfortunate.

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