MTL phases out mobile phone services, customers feel duped

Mzuzu, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) Monday started decommissioning its mobile phone services in some parts of the country, a development which has rendered its TelMO-TN handsets and other gadgets useless.

According to MTL Corporate Affairs Manager, Tina Das the decommissioning exercise will be done in phases until December, 2017.

A message from MTL customer care centre to its customers, the areas to be affected in the first phase include Jenda, Nkhata Bay, Chinteche, Chikangawa, Bunda, Dwangwa, Kanengo, Madisi, Chiringa, Mudi, Zalewa, Chisitu and Nkolokoti.

What will happen is that after the decommissioning process, all MTL mobile gadgets will stop working as their life span has expired and they will be non-operational, she said.

Das said MTL stopped selling mobile phones some time back after seeing that their life span was coming to an end.

She said the mobile phones will be decommissioned alongside the company’s internet services which use dongle and routers.

Das explained that the scrapping off of mobile phones and consumer internet services has been necessitated by technological factors.

The Code Division Multiple Aces Technology (CDMA) and Wimax technology which we were using to deliver the mobile voice and consumer internet services has reached their life span, she said.

She said some people will continue to access mobile services until the decommissioning exercise is over when all MTL mobile services will be non-functional.

The move will affect thousands of customers who subscribed to MTL phones due to its affordability.

Das pointed out that MTL customers were notified on the development through press releases issued in April,2017.

One of the customers in Mzuzu, who owns an MTL mobile phone, Gerald Banda said he feels duped by MTL because when buying the gadget, he was not told that the phone has a limited life span.

My phone is just okay and almost new. So what will I do with it? Had I known that the phone will be phased out I could not have bought it, he said.

Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) President, John Kapito expressed worry on the development saying the consumer has been betrayed.

You cannot just withdraw a product like that unless the consumers were told when purchasing the gadgets that they have an expiry date, he said.

Kapito is advising consumers who own mobile gadgets to go to MTL and claim their money.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA