Gvt still negotiating with operators to still reduce data charges

Bisika

Government says it is still negotiating with mobile network providers, Airtel Malawi plc and TNM plc to further reduce data charges.

Principal Secretary for Egovernment Francis Bisika said: "Government is looking at this issues in two ways. The first is to negotiate with operators to try and bring down their prices. 

"The second way is to make available alternatives source of data other than from just the operators."

Bisika went on to mention MAREN (Malawi Research Education Network) which will provide connectivity to higher learning institutions to compensate them for the high cost of data from the operators under the Digital Malawi Project.

"Also, with the operators we are trying to allow them to access terminal equipment that will allow more people to start using  data, you know the business of data is a business of volumes.

"So our negotiations basis is we will make equipment like phones and laptops  cheaper by removing certain taxes on them so that more people can buy them and access their services.

"If the operators are not getting the right uptake of customers the service charges will high but if the uptake goes up they might consider bringing down the prices," Bisika said.

He added that in November last year Airtel and TNM reduced the prices and have done so again recently but the negotiations are ongoing.

Bisika explained: "As as lasting remedy, a remedy that government has control over is to providing an alternative supply of data."

Malawians having been agitating for data prices to fall arguing they are too high and stifle communication.