TNM plc has disputed findings published in the Visual Capitalist online publication that Malawi is by far the most expensive country in terms of mobile data costs, ranking at position 155 in the world on Internet penetration.
The assessment indicates that one gigabyte (Gb) of data in Malawi on average costs about $27.41 (about K20 283.40).
But in a written statement yesterday, TNM plc head of brand marketing communications Louis Chipofya said Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) is the reliable source of data pricing.
“Actually Visual Capitalist apologised about the chart that was in circulation on social media with incorrect data about our data charges,” he said.
Chipofya said contrary to the alleged rates, TNM’s effective price in 2020 has been K1 691 per Gb and “we have popular bundle offers of K1 000 per gigabyte with some going at as low as K600 per gigabyte”.
But Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito in an interview said Malawians are only limited to voice data which is also expensive.
He said: “It is sad that mobile phone usage in Malawi remains one of the lowest due to the high cost of Internet.
“In this age and era where we are encouraging our children to go online for their education due to Covid-19, it is so prohibitive for any ordinary student to afford these funny and high costs of Internet bundles.”
Kapito said this is also exacerbated by poor connectivity and intermittent electricity supply.
Jimmy Kainja, a communications lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College said there is need to prioritise Internet access by putting proper infrastructure to support its use.
Visual Capitalist put Malawi as the expensive country in terms of Internet charges followed by Benin, Chad, Yemen and Botswana.
Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority recently announced that it has set up a Universal Access Fund, which collects money from information and communication technology players.
The fund will, among others, ensure fast and affordable Internet services, especially in rural and under-served areas using fees collected from operators.