Malawi’s Competition and Fair Trading Competition (CFTC) has put the communication industry under surveillance due to what it calls anti-competitive practices.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between CFTC and the Malawi Regulatory Authority (Macra) in Lilongwe on Friday, CFTC board chairperson Felix Jumbe said the industry engages in uncompetitive practices because it has few players.
“The market structure for the communication industry is characteristically oligopolistic and this raises opportunities for its service providers to engage in anti-competitive trade practices.
“As part of its mandate of monitoring monopolies and concentration of market power, CFTC has put the communication industry under its surveillance programme,” said Jumbe.
He said CFTC has received complaints from people that players in the industry overcharge their services, are involved in unfair promotions and predatory practices.
“We are working closely with Macra and we have learnt from the telecommunication regulatory body that most customers are complaining that players in the industry run promotions without clear rules, engage in predatory practices and are overcharging products,” said Jumbe.
With the MoU, he said customers will have a place where they can launch their complaints if they detect any anti-competitive trade practices by any telecommunication service provide.
“The two institutions have a shared goal of enhancing operations of the industry through promotion of competition, levelling the play field and ensuring that the interests of customers in the communication industry are served,” he said.
He said his organisation will use Marca equipment and technical expertise to investigate cases involving players in the industry.
CFTC acting executive director, who is also director of enforcement and compliance, Charlotte Malonda, agreed with Jumbe that one of the interests for the commission is monitoring competition among players in the industry.
Macra board member, Richard Chisala, said his organisation is mandated by the Communications Act to regulate the communication sector.
“We will always work hard to promote efficiency in the telecommunication sector and ensure that pricing of products is done in an acceptable manner,” he said.
With the MoU, the two institutions will establish a framework for technical cooperation and interaction with regards to matters relating to anti-competitive behaviour and unfair trading practices in the communication sector to minimise duplication of activities where necessary and improve understanding on the roles of CFTC and Macra.