Prohibiting of misleading adverts of tariffs by telecommunication companies in Malawi, is key for regulating retail pricing, Incyte Consultant Managing Director David Rogerson has said.
Rogerson was speaking in Blantyre when Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) met telecommunication companies on plans by the regulatory body to start regulating phone tariffs.
Macra engaged Incyte Consultant, a Scottish firm, to develop cost models and pricing frameworks for telecom companies for wholesale and retail telecommunication services. This would bring down tariffs and enhance competition among operators in Malawi.
Rogerson said according to results of the mobile network cost model survey that his company conducted in the past three months, misleading adverts for tariff play a major role in overcharging of customers.
“The published tariffs by telecommunication companies, are way below costs of making calls, and even internet.
MACRA needs to intervene by bringing down the tariffs that have made Malawi consumers for a long time to incur high phone costs.
“Once cost model and pricing frameworks for telecoms services are in place, I would urge MACRA to take into consideration prohibiting misleading adverts of tariffs; in such way it can add value to the regulatory body mission of price regulation,” he said.
Rogerson said the detailed analysis that his company made shows that both internet and phone calls have for a long time been expensive in Malawi.
He, therefore, called upon operators to redraft their tariffs.
MACRA’s Director of Finance Ben Chitsonga, said the regulatory body is striving to ensure that consumers should be charged true cost of service.
Chitsonga said MACRA decided to engage the consultant to conduct the study of real cost of doing telecommunication business in the Malawi.
He added that following the study, MACRA will ask Incyte Consultant to make a determination on tariffs to be used by telecommunication companies.
“There is a possibility that tariffs might go down. I know people have been crying for so long that telecommunication companies were over-charging them on both data and voice. But we had no basis of arguing with operators,” Chitsonga said.
“However, the new communication Act demands that we regulate tariffs, hence bringing in a consultant to look into the issue and see the costs of doing such business, whether the companies were indeed ripping off consumers,” he said.
Chitsonga further said MACRA will continue to work closely with operators for improved in-flow of information in various issues.
Telekom Networks (TNM) Chief Officer responsible for Consumer affairs, Dan Makata said people had to understand the demands of mobile phone business.
Makata commended MACRA for bringing the cost model pricing strategy, and said it will also provide a viable business environment for the operators to maximize their profits.
The cost model is expected to be in place by October 2017 and will ensure that MACRA is effectively and efficiently regulating tariffs offered by operators and at the same time provide a viable business environment.
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