The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) is developing cost model and pricing frameworks for telecommunication services to analyse and assess market trends for electronic communication in the country and determine fixed rates and tariffs for consumers.
Speaking in Blantyre on Wednesday during a workshop, director of finance at Macra Ben Chitsonga said following the passing of the new Communications Act in 2016, the authority hired a UK based company, Incyte Consulting Limited to do the study in cost of doing business which he said will see the reduction of tariffs and rates charged by the service providers.
According to Chitsonga, the model will help in ensuring concrete results in the study.
Said Chitsonga: “There have been complaints from consumers that operators are over charging them but Macra was unable to intervene.
But following the passing of the new Communications Act, it is a requirement that as Macra we should be able to approve the tariffs charged. This study will therefore establish the true cost of business so that we come up with accurate recommendations.”
Section 4 (2) of the Act states that subject to subsection (1), the Authority shall (specifically on consumer welfare): (a) protect the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of communication services in respect of the prices charged for the quality and variety services provided and terminal equipment supplied’ ‘(b) promote open access to information by means of communication services’‘(c) promote efficiency and competition among persons engaged in provision of communication services or supply of communication equipment.
In his remarks, David Rogerson director for Incyte Consulting Limited said currently his company has established that even though mobile operators in the country charge highly, they do not make excessive profit due to high operating costs.
He said the study, which started in March and ends in September will therefore help come up with a tariff structure which is in line with the current economic trends.
Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) Chief Consumer services Daniel Makata said they welcomed the study adding that it will help vindicate mobile operators by bringing about a clear understanding of how they conduct their business.
Findings from a 2015 survey by Research ICT Solutions and instituted by Macra indicates that Malawi ranks amongst African countries with highest cost of making phone calls and internet usage.