Internet users have slammed telecommunications provider, TNM for announcing that it has reduced data cost by 70 per cent when in fact internet charges remain exorbitantly high.
The internet users say what TNM has reduced is what is called ‘pay as you go,’ a facility a user uses direct airtime and not data bundle which most users use.
TNM chief executive officer Michiel Buitelaar made the announcement on Friday during the launch of the new 4G smartphone.
But minister of Information Gospel Kadzako was cautious, saying he would comment after listening to reactions of the users themselves.
“We represent the users, so, let me wait for their reactions first,” he said.
However, an expert in the field said the reduction of the ‘pay as you go’ has not brought down data charges in the country.
“On pay as you go, TNM charged K25/MB. This means when you are brousing in pay as you go, for IGB, you pay K25,600.
“Now with a 70 per cent reduction means from K25 less, K17.5 we will pay K7.50. Now for 1 GB we now have to payK7,680. The same costs K2,500 on bundles,” he says.
Airtel chief executive officer Charles Kamoto said the company has listened carefully to the concerns on the high data costs in the country and will respond in due course.
Malawians have in the past weeks taken up in various social media platforms to demand the reduction of internet costs in what they have dubbed data bundle must fall.
They are demanding that internet providers; Airtel and TNM reduce the data charges on internet.
Kazako told Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to engage mobile phone operators on the issue.
He said internet charges in Malawi are far much expensive compared to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia.
ICT Association of Malawi president Bram Fudzulani said the demands to reduce internet data bundle is long overdue.
“As part of such calls, ICT players are currently meeting with Macra as well as Competition and Fair Trade to force the network providers treat this matter with urgency and seriousness,” he said.
The World Bank has cited high taxation as one of the major factors behind exorbitant internet charges in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :