MACRA to cut cost of calls from Malawi mobile phone operators

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.

Itaye: The termination rate is included in the tarrif

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.

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Concerned citizen in diaspora
Concerned citizen in diaspora
4 years ago

Reduction in interconnect doesn’t mean prices will come down unless if you introduce floor and ceiling prices which would have to be controlled by the regulator otherwise this is a waste of time. Alternatively you should introduce Assymetrical interconnect or Sender Keep All which will also require physical pricing controls and approvals by the regulator……….whoever did the study for you wadya money zaulele……my 2 Tambala suggestions would as follows:- 1) Reduce service fees, %, 2) reduce taxes on telecom services/products 3) introduce assymetrical interconnect based on mkt shares 4) Force tower/infrastructure sharing and/or introduce local roaming to minimise investments 5)… Read more »

4 years ago

This is good news. In fact the termination charge to the callers must be baned. Termination charges should be between phone operators. For example, if a Tnm subscriber is calling an Airtel subsriber, Tnm MUST pay Airtel termination charges. MACRA should also consider banning charges on dropping calls due to network failure. We are being ripped-off. Well-done MACRA. KEEP IT P

4 years ago

Long over due. Please, start on the 1st of January 2018.

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