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Malawi initiates changes to national ICT policy framework

Malawi initiates changes to national ICT policy framework

Malawi's government has approved a plan to change the National Information Communication Technology policy framework and review existing legislation to strengthen telecommunications and attract investment.

Director of Information in the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Gideon Munthali said the Ministry is hopeful that the policy will also assist them in planning communication priorities.

He said the government, through the sector regulator the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra), has relied on the communication policy formulated in 1998 but that "matters of today cannot be governed by guidelines of the past."

"We are also reviewing the Malawi digital broadcasting policy and the National Access to Information policy," said Munthali.

The change of policy is said to be in line with Macra's 2015-2020 strategic plan which prescribes the licensing of more operators with the objective to encourage competition and reduce the high cost of communication.

Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) and Airtel Malawi are the only two mobile phone operators currently operating in the country.

Exorbitant calls and data tariffs remain a challenge. There are fifty ISPs in Malawi, but the cost of data services has remained high, according to the 2016 report by BuddeComm research.

A 2015 ITU report established that on average, Malawians use US$12 a month on airtime for mobile phones, representing up to 56.29% of people's average monthly earnings.

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