Malawi, Zambia agree to eliminate signal spillover

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has said Malawi’s agreement with Zambia to manage radio signals between their borders will reduce interferences and manage spillovers.

Director General of the Malawi communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Godfrey Itaye told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that the agreement between Malawi and Zambia will help in managing radio signal spillovers between the two countries.

Officials from Malawi and Zambia at the signing ceremony.

On May 31, Macra and its counterpart the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the bilateral cooperation on Telecommunications and Broadcasting Services Cross-border Frequency Coordination.

The deal which was signed in Lusaka by Itaye and Acting Director General for ZICTA, Patrick Mutimushi, aims at ensuring the two countries can jointly coordinate issues around radio frequency (signal) propagation and spillage between the two borders.

Itaye said radio signal spillage happens because radio signal is not restricted by international borders and there was need for the two countries to coordinate in order to limit the spillover.

He added that spillovers have in the past caused some inconveniences to both service providers and consumers.

According to Itaye, this development has negatively affected revenue for operators in Malawi but now operators are expected to benefit from the deal.

“Due to incidental spillover of radio signal, there have been cases of unintentional roaming whereby people living along the borders have been considered to have roamed to either countries and yet it is not their intention to roam. To avoid this unintentional roaming which is very costly to customers, people living along the borders find it cheaper to purchase a sim card from an operator in another country.

“Now, Malawian operators will not lose out in cases where Malawians living along the border were buying Zambian sim cards because the signal from a Zambian operator was stronger in their area than the signal from the Malawian operator,” said Itaye.

The MoU will also help in seeing the reduction of cases of interference along the borders which have been happening because the two assigned same frequencies to their operators.

The deal will also enhance cooperation between the two countries in as far as issues of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are concerned and also from shared information and knowledge on best practices in spectrum management.

Radio Spectrum relates to the radio frequencies allocated to the mobile industry and other sectors primarily for communication over the airwaves.

It ranges from three kilohertz (KHz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz) within the electromagnetic wave frequencies.

In the past, Malawi has also had similar agreements with Tanzania and Mozambique.