Computer Cross Talk: 2015 local technologies


During the last 12 months mobile technology took the centre stage on the local technology landscape. It is time to look back.

DSTV and GOtv payment system through Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba is one existing mobile payment solution. If you ask accountants, they will tell you that money transactions are double entry. While one account is debited, the other must be credited. This is a grandiose way of saying that money changes hands when a service is offered. The Multichoice payment system is truly double entry.

Once you make a payment, your bank (in this case Airtel Money or Mpamba) is debited while your DSTV or GOtv account is credited. The system then goes ahead and reconnects your decoder. All this happens in real-time.


When you use the same method to pay your utility bills, only your bank gets debited immediately but your account with the utility company does not get credited; it is the utility company’s bank account that does.

This means that for a day or two, the utility company gets paid for nothing since your bill remains unpaid in their books. Actually, you could be disconnected from the service during that period.

The Bankers Association National Switch Centre has made life much easier. There is no need now to get stuck with your bankers branded ATM.


You can transact on any available ATM. The worst fee that I paid on such interbank transaction was K170.50 and the least was nothing.

It is an oxymoron that one still finds long queues on one ATM while another next to it is totally free. Perhaps banks need to make more ‘noise’ about this beautiful technology. During the year, TNM bought Burco eWiMax.

Now the company wears the name TNM Smart eWiMax. TNM surprised many of us by offering more data for the same money; 150 percent more data in some instances. TNM went further to allow customers to convert airtime on their mobile platform to data for use on the TNM eWiMax. Bravo TNM!

National Bank’s Mo 626 Ice continues to innovate. Taking advantage of the National Switch Centre, the system allows customers to transfer money to any bank account held by other banks.

The system can also transfer money to and from TNM Mpamba and AirTel Money mobile banking systems. You can now access Mo 626 Ice on both TNM and AirTel mobile phone without providing an Authcode. This is helpful when either of the mobile phone companies has a problem.

Both Blantyre Water Board and the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) have online bill enquiries on their websites.

Until recently Escom was not updating its website as frequently as Blantyre Water Board. Blantyre Water Board updates its website almost on a daily basis. While this is commendable, these utility companies must move to mobile phone platforms.

Not all the people have internet access but most of the people have mobile phones.

There were also lighter moments. TNM and National Bank; two companies that both have wonderful technologies and the same Press Corporation roots decided to wash dirty linen whilst we all watched.

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