Mutharika complains of poor telecommunication services

President Bingu wa Mutharika has complained through the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) that poor telecommunication services in the country is embarrassing when communicating with his international colleagues.MACRA board chair, Thengo Maloya took a swipe at the telecommunications service providers for aggressive concentration on marketing, trying to woo more customers at the expense of capacity constraints.“Network hitches at MTL [Malawi Telecommunications Limited], TNM and Zain Malawi have often embarrassed President Bingu wa Mutharika who has had important calls cut abruptly,” he lamented.The telecommunication service providers have all said they are expanding and replacing their equipment with cutting edge facilities and therefore people should bear with them as they will still be experiencing congestion.On the other hand, promotional activities are still on going, as they try to out do each other on marketing strategies. Currently both TNM and MTL have brought on the market specially designed handsets named after their brands, which have flooded the market.Zain has announced that it has set aside US$100 million for network upgrading and expansion between now and next year and the project is bringing problems with their network.“At the end of the exercise, Zain customers can expect a seamless service with faster GPRS speeds, efficient international calls and uninterrupted calls,” said Zain operations and maintenance manager, Steve Mulelemba.In June this year, TNM announced that it has switched to a newly installed New Generation Home Location Register (NGHLR) as part of its extensive networking upgrading to take place in the next six months.“The New Home Location Register – HLR, is the main database of all our subscribers, containing all pertinent user information such as account status, services subscribed to or given etc.,” explained the company’s chief technical officer, David Chetty at the time. “We are increasing our transmission backbone from Blantyre to Mzuzu through capacity upgrade of 27 sites,” said Chetty who pledged to complete 40 new sites by mid-July and 60 new sites by December.MACRA has since ordered that the telecommunication service providers ease on aggressive marketing and focus on improving their capacity and services


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