I thought it might be interesting for me to show you somethings that I do frequently or on a daily basis in Malawi. Things that may be completely or slightly different than how its done in Canada.
Part 1: Paying for internet and my cell phone.
In Canada we sign up with a company like Bell, Telus, Rogers, ect. For phones most Canadians sign 2-3 year contracts and are billed monthly a pre-determined plan fee, plus any overages. Internet is similar without the contract terms and much less overage fees!
In Malawi after buying a SIM card for your phone and for your dongle (a USB internet stick – red pictured below) you can go to basically any street corner in the country and by credit.
A credit is basically a scratch card with a code you input into your phone or dongle (same scratch cards are used for both). There is also a pre-paid service available, but does not seem to be very popular. Personally, I only know one person who uses this service.
To know the amount of credit you need, you refer to your company’s Bundle List. In the picture I am currently bundling 6,000 Kwacha (~$15) in to 2GB of data for my computer, which I have a month to use or lose.
The tricky part is finding people who sell large vouchers (1,000 is the largest available – and also the largest bill in the country worth a total of $2.50!) since most Malawians buy very small vouchers to just make it through an anticipated call or text message. Note the red box building.
And thats paying for internet and cell phone in Malawi!