Mobile phone service providers in Malawi are facing pressure from the public to quickly fix their erratic networks and improve service delivery for clients.
Customers continue to be subjected to poor network service, despite paying high charges for calls and data.
The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has since written a letter to the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, questioning its silence and in-action, at a time when consumers are being abused by mobile telecommunication service providers.
According to CAMA Executive Director John Kapito, it is surprising that consumers continue to pay for high charges and be subjected to poor networks.
Kapito feels that the regulator, MACRA, has decided to abandon its legal mandate as stipulated in the Communications Act.
When contacted by Capital FM on the issue calls to MACRA went unanswered, however in a previous interview the Regulator did acknowledge that it has taken note of the concerns raised by customers on high data tariffs.
Those that spoke to this reporter on the streets in the commercial capital expressed dissatisfaction and concern over how they are being treated by service providers.
“Their services are so poor that at times it is difficult to decide which network to use for your phone because they all do not give to customers what they promise,” lamented one Blantyre based taxi driver.
In an earlier interview, Emmanuel Kasambala who is Airtel Malawi’s Marketing Director, told Capital FM that their network is currently being upgraded and will improve by the end of August.
According to statistics data tariffs in Malawi are the highest when compared to those of other countries in southern Africa.
One of Malawi’s mobile phone service providers TNM is proving its worth on the market, as it continues to register notable growth.
In the first half of the year, TNM has registered a 72 percent growth in profits from where it left off as at 31st December 2016.
The company has registered a post tax profit of MK4.7 Billion, up from MK2.8 Billion, which was made during the same period in 2016.
In a published half-year financial report, the Board Chairman of the company George Partridge has attributed the growth to the decreasing national inflation, coupled with a stable exchange rate.
The company has also heavily invested in ICT services which are said to have pushed their earnings further.
This half year profit is almost equivalent to the mobile phone service company’s full year profits from two years ago.
Established in 1995, TNM is a joint venture between Telekom Malaysia and Malawi Telecommunications Limited, it is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange.
In April 2007 Telekom Malaysia sold its 60% majority stake in TNM. TNM is now wholly Malawian owned.
Geographically TNM network covers over 74% of Malawi.
TNM operates 3.5 generation network enabling advanced high speed broadband multimedia services, in addition to GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks.
TNM offers a comprehensive range of prepaid and postpaid services, these include voice and data connectivity.
Blantyre’s BE Forward Wanderers on 16 July extended their lead to four points in the TNM Super League following their 1-0 victory over 11th placed Masters Security away at the Dedza Stadium in Dedza district.
This despite their 2-0 shocking defeat to tenth placed Civo Sporting Club on Saturday at the Civo stadium in Lilongwe. Civo handed the Wanderers their first defeat since the league kicked off in May their by cutting short the leader’s clean sheet.
The Nomads who have four games in hand are ahead of their Blantyre city rivals Premier Bet Wizards who have 18 points from 11 matches.
The Wizards are tied on points with third placed Moyale Barracks who have a game in hand.
Lilongwe based policemen Blue Eagles are fourth with 17 points from 11 matches. The Eagles are two points ahead of their fellow security force, Red Lions who have a game in hand.
The Zomba based Malawi Defence Force (MDF) side is tied on points with eight-time record holders Nyasa Big Bullets and fellow military outfit, MAFCO.
Azam Tigers, Silver Strikers and Civil Sporting Club are on positions eight, nine and ten, in that order. The Tigers and Civil have played ten games apiece whereas the Strikers have two matches in hand.
Mzuzu based university students, MZUNI are 11th with 12 points, a point ahead of defending champions, Kamuzu Barracks. Both sides have each played nine games.
Rookies, Masters Security are two points behind Kamuzu Barracks. Behind Masters are Dwangwa United (DU) and Blantyre United (BU) who are tied on eight points. With two games in hand, DU are ahead of BU on fourteenth because they have conceded a goal less than BU’s eight who have played 12 matches.
Debutants, Chitipa United continue to anchor the 16 member elite league for a fifth week running with four points from ten matches.
2017 TNM Super League Week 11 Results
Day 23: Saturday, 15 July
Silver Strikers 2 [Victor Limbani, Mathews Sibale] - Nyasa Big Bullets 1 [Chiukepo Msowoya]
Masters Security 0 – BE FORWARD Wanderers [Precious Msosa]
Moyale Barracks 1- Blantyre United 1
MAFCO 1 [Gift Soko] - Premier Bet Wizards 0
Day 24: Sunday, 16 July
MZUNI 3-1 Blantyre United
Civil Sporting Club 2 – BF Wanderers 0
Dwangwa United 1 – Wizards 2
Zomba based soldiers, Red Lions have descended three steps from the top of Malawi’s elite football league log table after losing 2-1 to leaders, BE FORWARD Wanderers, on 8 July.
The battle between the Lions who until 5 July were on top for over a month and the lossless Wanderers was staged at the Balaka stadium in Balaka district.
A Peter Makwale fifth minute strike forced the Wanderers, who were playing at home, to concede the first goal since the 2017 TNM Super League kicked off in May.
However, the Nomads, who have three games in hand, maintained their 100 percent winning record and found their way to the top through Yamikani Chester’s 28th minute goal and a 55th penalty scored by Joseph Kamwendo.
With two matches in hand, Nomads head into week 11 of this year’s league football with 19 points, three ahead of Moyale Barracks who have played nine matches.
The Mzuzu based Malawi Defence Force (MDF) side was on 9 July held to an away one-all draw against seventh placed Azam Tigers. Dan Kumwenda was on target for the home side while Deus Nkutu scored for the visitors.
Blue Eagles have moved to third thanks to their three-nil triumph over rookies and anchors, Chitipa United, who have four points.
John Malidadi’s brace and Maxwell Salambula’s strike were enough to increase the policemen’s tarry to 16 points, one ahead of fellow security force, Red Lions, who have a game in hand.
Despite their one-nil win over reigning champions, Kamuzu Barracks on Saturday, eight-time record holders, Nyasa Big Bullets are tied with the Lions on points. Nevertheless, they are a step behind because they have scored one goal less than Lions’ six.
Premier Bet Wizards’ two-one loss to Moyale Barracks on 9 July has left them tied on points with the Bullets who have scored five goals, three more than the Wizards.
An interesting scenario is on positions eight to 13 as each of the six teams is tied on points with their closest opponent. In simpler terms, the goal difference method is what is determining positions in that rage.
Ironically, the same was slightly the case in the preceding fixture which was played in the previous week.
Tied on 11 points are Silver Strikers, Kamuzu Barracks, Civil Sporting and MAFCO. The four are on positions eight, nine, ten and eleven in that order.
The Strikers were on 9 July beaten one-nil by rookies, Masters Security in a home Lilongwe city derby whose goal came from Vincent Nyangulu.
The shocking victory places the Masters on 13th and tied on nine points with Mzuni who are on position 12.
In another unexpected result, defending champions Kamuzu Barracks were defeated two-one by returnees Blantyre United who are battling relegation on position 15.
Ibrahim Juma and Rafiq Juma were on target for the home side while Kelvin Hanganda’s strike could not pull Kamuzu Barracks away from embarrassment.
United who have played ten matches have collected seven points, three more than anchors, Chitipa United.
BE FORWARD Wanderers Silver Strikers are set to play catch up in midweek football of the 2017 TNM Super League, Malawi’s top flight, which has entered week 10.
The Wanderers and Strikers have played five matches apiece since the 2017 season of the Super League kicked off on 6 May.
Both teams are attempting to be at par with the number of matches played by the rest of the 14 sides in the elite league.
This is because the football clubs were involved in a month-long run to win the maiden edition of the Airtel Top 8 which saw and both sides facing off in the final match won by Strikers on 3 June.
On Malawi’s Independence Day, BE FORWARD Wanderers will be involved in a Blantyre city derby when they face Blantyre United at the MDC stadium.
The Wanderers head into 6 July’s match on a clean sheet. They currently sit on position three with 13 points while their opponents of the day are battling relegation as they sit a step from the bottom with four points from eight matches
The Nomads will play their seventh league match on 9 July when they’ll aim to gun down leaders, Red Lions in a tough encounter to be played at MDC stadium. Officially sponsored by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Lions of Zomba are on position one with 15 points from eight matches.
Silver Strikers will on 7July which happens to be match-day 19, play the second mid-week league match in this year’s Super League when they face city rivals, Blue Eagles. This Lilongwe derby will be staged at the Civo stadium in Lilongwe.
Sitting on position 10 with nine points, the Strikers will be playing at home against the Eagles who have salvaged 12 points from eight matches. Eagles are on position seven.
After Thursday’s match the Bankers will return to Civo Stadium where they will be involved in another derby on match day 21 when they will host rookies Masters Security on 9 July. Masters are two steps away from the relegation with eight points from eight matches.
In other matches to be played on 8 July, which happens to be match day 20, eight-time record holders Nyasa Bullets who currently sit on position sixth will host defending champions Kamuzu Barracks at MDC Stadium.
The Bullets have 12 points from eight matches while the defending champions are holding the eighth spot with 11 points from seven matches.
On the same day, Premier Bet Wizards will look horns with Moyale Barracks at the Mulanje Park stadium in Mulanje district.
Second placed, Wizards go into this home match having collected 15 points from eight matches. On the other hand Moyale are two points and two steps behind their opponents of the day. The soldiers have played seven matches.
With a game in hand the Mzuzu based MDF side, will play Azam Tigers away on match day 21 at the Kalulu stadium in Nchalo-Chikwawa district.
Both teams are tied on points but the Tigers, who have played nine matches, are on top because they have scored four more goals against Moyale’s one.
Civil sporting who are a step away from the relegation zone will host debutants Chitipa United at Civo Stadium.
Sporting are 13 with eight points from eight matches while United are at the bottom with four points from a similar number of matches.
Having travelled from Chitipa district, United will on the next day face Blue Eagles at the Nankhaka stadium in Lilongwe.