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Why data must fall

Computer cross stalk

Malawians are being short-changed on data. Left thus, is fallacy in philosophy; an argument which is not buttressed bysuccinct premises.

Some measuring rod is needed to ascertain the truth of the matter. Airtel is seems to be a binary zero-sum choice ‘thermometer’ to measure our temperature from this data ‘fever’. Being multinational, it is present in a good number of African countries.

I journeyed through the maze of the internet to dig out how much our friends are paying in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria; a quest to compare apples to apples.

Before I started, my hunch was that Uganda would be paying as high as we do. We are both landlocked and neighbours to Tanzania. Tanzania and Nigeria, being on the coastal lines—nearer underwater fiber cables of this world— would be paying lesser.

Was not to be. Uganda has the most competitive rates compared to the rest. Airtel Uganda’s Chilax data bundles are stress-free. Unlike milk, they do not go bad (expire).

Chilax bundles are priced between K0.55 to K1.10 per megabyte (MB). In Both Nigeria and Tanzania bundles are ‘milky’ but largely competitive. While bundles cost between K0.56 to K1.15 per MB in Tanzania, Nigerians shell out K0.38 – K1.94.

How much are we paying comparably? A lot more; K0.98 – K4.00/MB. In worse-case scenario, we are coughing four, three, and two times more than Ugandans, Nigerians and Tanzanians correspondingly.

That is the bad news. The good news is that a few of our bundles are very competitive; even on the scale of Uganda. Airtel Malawi’s Night Shilaz 1GB at K1,100, WhatsApp 1GB K1,000 and volume PaNet 40GB (monthly) are best buys.

I should also mention that there is a no-expiry bundle on Malawi Airtel’s price menu; the PaNet 1GB NoVa @ K3, 500. At K3.42/MB, it is pricey.

Although these companies are cut from the same fabric, they operate in different political regimes; there is no reciprocity in income taxes and regulation fees. Further than this is simply speculative, too slippery slope to balance.

Is it about time we shred our faith in data-must-fall campaign? No. Time to substantiate it. If we desire to be like the johns, how low should data fall? Five hundred Kwacha should do for a monthly 1GB bundle.

There is hope. The TNM Yanga 4G Bundle, K750 (K0.18/MB) is a gold medal champion. The Yanga Bundle 1GB, K500 (K0.49/MB) is where we should be. The downside is; only two hours to gallop a howling 4G. Airtel offers free-mode Facebook; it’s one without picturesque.

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