Airtel Malawi fined for withholding consumer airtime

Malawi’s telecoms regulator has fined the local business of India’s Bharti Airtel over $2.5m (£1.9m) for failing to give customers airtime they were owed as part of a loyalty scheme.

Airtel Malawihas denied the charges.

The Competition and Fair Trade Commission launched an investigation after receiving complaints from customers.

It found that Airtel Malawi had stopped automatically crediting customers’ accounts with monthly bonuses – a move which enabled it to make a financial gain of about $2.5m.

The commission fined the company for what it described as “unconscionable conduct”.

At $14bn, the global annual revenue of India’s Bharti Airtel is almost double the size of Malawi’s entire economy.

In a statement sent to the AFP news agency, Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto “denied the charges leveled”.

“The company is pursuing the matter further in court,” he said. “Airtel complies and continues to fully comply with the relevant and applicable laws.”

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