Backlash over phone numbers subscription fee proposal

Mobile phone usage in Malawi to attract subscription fee
  • Macra says charge K120 on licencees

  • Subscribers wary charge will be pushed to them either way 

Twitter fingers and Facebook posts on Thursday were dominated by a backlash to consultations by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to introduce annual subscription fees for all phone numbers.

A story by Nation Publication, one of Malawi's dailies sparked the debate.
Social media users were livid with the proposal and Macra had to come out after noticing to clarify the K12 charge will be K120 to lincesees (network providers) and not subscribers.

That did not sooth peoples minds as they went on to say the companies will find a way to push the fee towards subscribers.

Silika: Fee will be reasonable

Thabit Edward commented: "So you think we don't know rule's of the game? Service providers will definitely transfer this amount to consumer's. This will mean we may be either charged more per call which in the long run, they may even charge us more than the said MWK120. This is very unfortunate as it is coming at time of financial and economic crisis."

The revised Malawi National  Numbering Plan and the draft Numbering Fees Schedule is currently under discussion at a Macra Consultative workshop in Lilongwe. 

Macra acting director-general Henry Silika said the annual subscription fee for mobile numbers will be reasonable and the move is in line with the changing technology comprising 4G and latest 5G. 

He told The Nation the move is also aimed at curbing fraud by unscrupulous individuals who buy and use phone numbers to scam unsuspecting subscribers. 

Other countries reported to already being implementing such fees are Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa among others.

Silika said Malawi has been lagging behind.