MP calls on Govt to intervene on data bundle expiry

Member of Parliament Malawi

Member of Parliament for Likoma Island Ashems Christopher Songwe has called on Government to force Malawi mobile phone operators to remove expiration of data bundles.

Songwe made the remarks in Parliament when he was commenting on a statement presented by the Minister of Information.

According to Songwe, Government needs to intervene and raise this matter as is the case in Niger and Ghana where directives have been made that restrict the mobile network service providers from subjecting the data to expiration.

“I wanted to know from the Minister the kind of intervention people expect when it comes to Airtime and internet access cost that the mobile network operators and the internet providers charge.

“As you know that both mobile operators and the internet service providers they subject their tariff to expiration period even when the data or the package hasn’t been fully depleted. So it is of concern of end user who would really want to live on a budget and they would want to make sure they would use the data until it has fully consumed,” said Songwe.

According to Songwe, data bundles in other countries do not expire as is the case in Malawi and there is no need for data bundles to have time limit.

Songwe also expressed concern on how fast data bundles get depleted, saying there was need for the phone operators to rectify this anomaly.

In response to the concern raised by Songwe, Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu, noted that the government is actively pursuing various interventions to address the problem which include engaging the network service providers on the issue.

He also disclosed that government is currently laying optical fiber from Nsanje to Chitipa and is exploring avenues to reduce data landing costs through diplomatic data corridors.

Stakeholders including the ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) and the Consumer Association of Malawi have lobbied MACRA to force the country’s two mobile phone operators to remove the expiry date on data bundles.