Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) says from 1st January, 2018, it will start reducing calling rates in order for people to make phone calls at affordable prices in the country.
MACRA’s Director General Godfrey Itaye said this in Blantyre when he announced the setting up of maximum call termination rates towards improving affordability of making calls in the country.
Call termination rate – where networks charge each other to connect a call to a mobile or landline – would fall.
“The termination rate is included in the tariff that a consumer pays for making a call to another network different from the one they carry. For example TNM may charge Airtel customers termination rate for calling TNM subscriber or vice versa.
“We could have started reducing calling rates way back but then the regulatory body had no power to regulate phone making rates until last year when the Communications Act was amended.
“This is our starting point and the next step is to reduce calling rates for subscribers of similar network, say for example TNM to TNM or Airtel to Airtel rates,” Itaye said.
According to the Macra boss, the current maximum call termination rate on wholesale voice is at four United States (US) cents per minute.
The reduction of call termination rate is as follows: From 1st January to December 2018, the maximum call termination rate shall be two US cents per minute which is an equivalent of K14.70 per minute.
From 1st January to 31st December 2019, the maximum call termination rate shall be 1.2 cent per minute equivalent to K8.82 per minute.
From 1st January 2020 onwards and until further revision by the authority, the maximum call termination rate shall be 0.6 US cent per minute, which is an equivalent of K4.40 per minute.
Macra boss said thet would keep prices low for customers.
Itaye said the reduction in termination call rates will help Malawians to make calls to different network easily without considering charges.
He added: “No need to carry two phones of different networks for fear of exorbitant charges when calling other network. These will be history shortly.
“Malawi has been criticized for so long that it has high rates of making calls comparing to other countries. MACRA has started regulating prices now.”
Itaye said MACRA could have made all phone calling reduction at once but it opted for implementation in phases as a deliberate move to allow phone operators make some adjustments saying Malawi need them also to run their businesses.
The proposed implementation follows the completion of the study that MACRA instituted on the development of cost models and pricing frameworks for wholesale and retail telecommunications services that was done in consultation with all key stakeholders in the sector.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :