Mobile network providers, Airtel and TNM, proposed to hike prices of data bundles by 30 percent.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako revealed this in Parliament yesterday when presenting a ministerial statement on non-expiry data bundles.
According to Kazako, after Parliamentarians expressed concerns over expiry period for bundles, his ministry engaged the service providers in June this year to find a solution.
TNM and Airtel during the meeting agreed to provide non-expiry data bundles as alternatives to existing data bundles.
Airtel and TNM then made a request for non-expiry data bundles to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) for consideration and approval, targeting eight and ten categories of lower volume data bundles below 3GB to 100MB respectively.
“However, these non-expiry tariff requests were 30 percent higher than the normal bundles,” said Kazako.
He added that MACRA pended the adoption of the non-expiry bundles to allow for more discussions so that the charges could be lowered.
Kazako further said the proposed non-expiry bundles meant having bundles that are more expensive than the normal ones which is against the government’s policy of ensuring that internet services are affordable.
The minister said it is important that internet is not made more expensive in Malawi due to implementation of the non-expiry data bundles.
“Government through MACRA and Ministry of Information will continue to engage the mobile network providers to come up with data bundles that are cost reflective and affordable,” he said.
He also noted that taxes affect the internet charges. On this Kazako, said MACRA will investigate the issue of data charges and the report will inform how government can review such taxes.