TNM, Airtel get fair trading thumbs up

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

Malawi’s two mobile phone companies, Airtel Malawi and TNM Limited, have been given thumbs up by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) to have exclusive distribution arrangement.

In a statement, CFCT acting executive director Charlotte Malonda said the arrangement is, however, subject to amendments of the anti-competitive clauses in their respective standard arrangements.

CFCT says the two telecommunication companies submitted independent applications to the commission for authorisation of exclusive distribution arrangements in accordance with Section 44 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act.

This piece of legislation mandates the commission to authorise conduct which can potentially lessen competition or have a potential negative effect on the economy as a whole.

At the CFTC’s 36th meeting in Lilongwe it was heard that Airtel Malawi had instituted the exclusive distribution arrangement for its products to ensure that its subscribers in the country access recharge vouchers (airtime) and other related products easily and at uniform price regardless of whether they are located in urban or rural areas.

Malonda said they determined that the exclusive distribution arrangements by the two network providers have advantages that outweigh their competitive disadvantages and that the commission has also ordered identification of distributors through public advertising to allow potential new entrants to contest and promote competition at wholesale level.

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