Saturday, June 13, 2009

Malawi Regulator Clashes With Zain Over High Taxes

Malawi's Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and the local arm
of Zain have clashed over plans to lower phone tariffs in the country.
The regulator wants to open the market up to more networks, while Zain
blames high taxes and says increased subscribers would lead to lower

"We believe more players would increase competition on the market and
this will force the companies to reduce their tariffs for them to
remain competitive. We are sure that consumers would be the ultimate
beneficiaries from the increased numbers of players on the market,"
Macra Acting Director General Mike Kumtiya told the Daily Times

The country currently has two mobile networks, Zain and former
incumbent, (Telekom Networks Malawi) TNM - while a two more networks
have been licensed. Globally Advanced Integrated Networks (Gain)
expects to launch its network within the next couple of months, while
G-Mobile is still waiting to announce a launch date.

Zain Malawi's Managing Director Fayaz King countered the claim, saying
that "Imagine at Zain, we have mounted a network that could take up to
5 million users but we currently have only 1.5 million customers. We
believe that if at least 3 million people started using the Zain
network, we could start enjoying the benefits of economies of scale
and we can be able to extend the same to consumers through reduce

The Mobile World subscriber database estimates that Malawi ended Q1
'09 with just over 2 million subscribers - representing a population
penetration level of just 15%. Zain is the market leader with 66.7% of
the customer base, with Telecom Networks Malawi (TNM) taking the

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