Scottish firm advises Macra to prohibit misleading adverts

Prohibiting of misleading adverts of tariffs by telecommunication companies in Malawi is key for regulating retail pricing, Incyte Consultant Managing Director David Rogerson has said.

Makata:The issue of consumers being over charged was debatable advancements of mobile network and ICT services for which TNM plc is the pioneer in Malawi,

Rogerson was speaking in Blantyre when Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) was meeting telecommunication companies on plans by the regulatory body to start regulating phone tariffs.

Macra engaged Incyte Consultant, a Scottish firm, to develop cost models and pricing framework for telecoms companies for wholesale and retail telecommunication services in order to bring down tariffs and to enhance competition among operators in Malawi.

Rogerson said according to results of the mobile network cost model survey that his company has been undertaking for the past three months, misleading adverts for tariff play a major role in overcharging of customers.

“The published tariffs by telecommunication companies are way below costs of making calls and even internet. Macra need to intervene by bringing down the tariffs that have made consumers incur high phone costs for a long time.

“Once cost model and pricing framework for telecoms services are in place, I would urge Macra to take into consideration prohibiting misleading adverts of tariffs, in such way it can add value to the regulatory body mission of price regulation,” he said.

Rogerson said the detailed analysis that his company made shows that both internet and phone calls have for a long time been expensive in the country.

He, therefore, called upon operators to relook at their tariffs.

Ben Chitsonga, Director of Finance for Macra said the regulatory body is striving to ensure that consumers should be charged true cost of service.

Chitsonga said Macra decided to engage the consultant to conduct the study of real cost of doing telecommunication business in the country.

He added that following the study, Incyte Consultant will be asked by the regulatory authority to make a determination on tariffs to be used by telecommunication companies.

“There is a possibility that tariffs might go down. I know people have been crying for so long that telecommunication companies were over charging them on both data and voice. But we had no basis of arguing with operators.

“However, the new communication Act demands that we regulate tariffs hence bringing in a consultant to look into the issue and see the costs of doing such business whether the companies were indeed ripping off consumers,” Chitsonga said.

He further said Macra will continue to work closely with operators for improved in-flow of information in various issues.

Dan Makata, Telekom Networks (TNM) Chief Officer responsible for Consumer affairs said the saying first people had to understand the demands of mobile phone business.

But Makata commended Macra for bringing cost model pricing strategy adding it will also provide a viable business environment for the operators to maximize their profits.

The cost model is expecting to be in place by October 2017 and will ensure that Macra is effectively and efficiently regulating tariffs offered by operators at the same time providing a viable business environment.

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