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New twist to cheap internet deals

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Excitement arising out of some mobile service providers’ announcement that they have introduced cheaper internet data offers than before will be short-lived, following TNM and Airtel’s announcement that the provision of cheap internet data was on trial basis.

TNM introduced Pamtsetse, an unlimited bundle package, before Airtel Malawi unveiled its PaNet Mofaya, which is basically a limited bundle package with a big volume at a less cost. However, it has emerged that the two companies had disclosed in their terms and conditions for the new bundles that they were doing so on promotional basis, further indicating that the initiatives would run for three months.

Writing on its website, Airtel Malawi indicates that PaNet Mofaya internet bundles were launched on a promotional/trial period of 90 days starting from March 2 to May 31 2022 while, separately, TNM wrote the same, saying the Pamtsetse promotion period will last until April this year.

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TNM further disclosed that a continuation or discontinuation of the packages depends on customer response.

In an interview, spokesperson for Airtel, Nora Chavula, confirmed that the PaNet MoFaya is, indeed, on promotion/trial basis. However, in responding to why the announcement of the package on social media did not point out that it was on trial basis, she indicated that the poster had shown that “Terms and Conditions apply”.

Efforts to get a comment from TNM before we went to print proved futile.

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Meanwhile, ICT Association of Malawi President Bram Fudzulani has said the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) should look into the issue of having the bundles on promotion basis.

However, Macra Communications Manager Zadziko Mankhambo said the body was aware that the data packages were on a trial basis before they were introduced.

“The operators are currently assessing the promotions and, after the designated period, a report will be produced from which a direction will be made. We, as Macra, are optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction to ensure that all operators are offering affordable ICT services,” he said.

Nonetheless, Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito said Malawians should not rely on data bundles as a long-term solution to the “Data Must Fall” calls.

“There have to be checks to ensure that Malawians are getting their money’s worth from buying these packages. The bundles are questionable and Malawians should tread carefully in assuming that this is a long-term solution,” he said.

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