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Macra revises downwards call, SMS rates

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Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) has revised downwards the cost of calls and short message services (SMS) from January 1, 2023 to December 31 2025 as assessments reportedly revealed that they were exorbitant.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the regulator says the proposed implementation follows the revision of the Cost Models and Pricing Frameworks for Wholesale and Retail Telecommunications Services.

According to the statement, call termination rates, also known as interconnection rates, refer to the charges that one telecommunication operator charges another for terminating calls on its network (off-net calls).

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The charge is included in the tariff that a consumer pays for making a call to another network different from the one they carry, for example, the charges that Airtel Malawi Plc. imposes on TNM Plc. for its customers to terminate calls on the Airtel Malawi network and vice versa.

Currently, interconnection rates stand at K5.80 per minute and about K20.72 per SMS.

The rates will be reduced in a staggered approach to round up to $0.15 cents (K1.55) per minute and $0.03 cents (K0.31) per SMS by 2025.

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In an interview, Macra Communications Manager Zadziko Mankhambo said the revision follows a market analysis that was done which showed that the rates were on a higher side.

In an emailed response Thursday, Airtel Malawi plc Head of Brands, Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Norah Chavula- Chirwa said they are reviewing the rates for implementation.

“We have received the communication regarding revised wholesale termination rates for calls and SMS from Macra and are currently reviewing for implementation,” she said.

TNM plc was yet to respond to our questionnaire as we went to press.

The revised charges have been revised pursuant to Section 6(1) and Section 66 (1) of the Communications Act, which means non compliance is a breach of the law.

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