#DataMustFall: Malawians take on TNM, Airtel over inhuman data charges

Airtel Malawi

People across the country are running a #ReduceDataCost protest to force TNM and Airtel to cut data charges.

Theprotests which had a wider-scale take off started barely two days after Minister of Information Gospel Kazako said he would look into the heartless charges that the two companies have been meting out.

During his formalisation tour at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) said owning a smart phone in Malawi is akin to a crime because of the merciless costs of internet data.

Financial reports for both Airtel and TNM reveal that the two companies posted close to K100 billion of revenue last year. Airtel said 42% (K39 billion) of its total revenue (K93 billion) came from data. In contrast, only 3 percent (K2.8 billion) came from calls). TNM’s reports indicates that it made a gross profit of about K52 billion.

Both TNM and Airtel charge 15,000 for 10GB pre-paid (pay as you go). The same amount in the UK would give you 30GB of data, 250 minutes and unlimited text under Vodafone. While with K27,000 under 02, you would get 100GB and unlimited text and minutes.

Meanwhile, a report circulating on social media shows that Malawi tops the list of countries with most brutally expensive data rates, justifying the protests.

Among those who have joined the movement are celebrities like Musicians Gwamba and Patience Namadingo as well as Malawi national football team star Gerald Phiri Junior.H