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Service Based Information

Exceeding Your Credit Limit

Roaming charges are not real time, meaning roaming transactions  made/received are not billed instantly. So customers are able to exceed their  credit limits while roaming. Customers are liable to pay for such excess  charges, as strict Credit Limit management is limited to National calls only.


All incoming as well as outgoing voice calls  (including calls to Customer care) are chargeable while you are on roaming. The  call charges vary from operator to operator and are charged for a per-minute  pulse.

Roaming partners also charge voice calls in  different currencies (some in British Pounds, others in US Dollars, Euro or any  currency). Billing however is done in home local currency, Malawi Kwacha. The  foreign currencies are then converted into Malawi Kwacha using the market  exchange rates

Each roaming partner has different taxes levied  on all call charges. Customers are therefore expected to pay the call charges  including taxes. Customers are therefore requested to be cautious when using  the service.

Customers are advised to enquire the rates before  going on roaming so that they are aware of what charges they should expect to  be billed.


The SMS usage is charged for 160 characters per  outgoing SMS. For example, if an SMS is of 200 characters then it is charged as  two SMS's.

Airtel subscribers have the priviledge of sending  SMS to any country while on roaming. The recipient number must be in International  format. For example +265999123456 and not 0999123456

Tax is also applied on SMS transactions depending  on roaming partner’s tax authority rules

Expect SMS charges to be different with voice  calls, and the charges vary from operator to operator.

GPRS / Data

GPRS/Data usages are charged as per the volume of data sent or  received (upload and download). Charges vary from operator to operator.

Note that your normal (local) access for GPRS and Blackberry are not  valid overseas and all GPRS and Blackberry usage while on roaming will be  charged at the visited operator roaming data rates. Taxes on data also vary  operator to operator

Blackberry Usage

Airtel allows customers to use Blackberry devices on roaming. The  service works only when customers have local subscriptions active. However  local subscriptions are only for local use. Any Blackberry use on roaming is  charged on pay as you go basis (PAYG)

Validity period for all active Blackberry subscriptions will not  change while customer is on roaming. For example, one week subscription from 1st to 7th Jan 2000 will expire on 7th Jan regardless  of customer being on roaming during the whole period.

Receiving and sending emails, Blackberry Chats/Messaging, Blackberry  software updates while you on roaming, are part of roaming data usage and  therefore, are charged according to roaming data charges.

Certain networks charge for PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context, which  is necessary for getting connected to the GPRS network and works as an  authorization platform. This appears in the bill as charges against 0 Kb  usages, which are also billable.

Customers are therefore requested to disable data on roaming access on  their handsets. Please call our customer care or  visit airtel  nearest service centre for assistance on how to disable data on  roaming

Customers will be liable for any Blackberry data charges while on  roaming.

One Network

One Network is an extended service of  roaming. Airtel coverage is in the following countries; Malawi, Tanzania,  Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Congo Brazzaville, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Ghana, Chad, Gabon, Seychelles,  Sierra Leone, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Ensure you are on Airtel network in order to  enjoy one network services. It is advisable for  customers to search for airtel Network manually by Clicking on
>Settings/Network  and connections
>Mobile Networks
>Network Selection Mode>Manual
>choose airtel network

Customers are advised  to manually search for network where an automatic search does not occur.

Please visit for more details.

Inbound Roaming

When customers from other networks (outside Malawi ) travel to  Malawi  and roam on airtel's network  using their SIM from their home network.

Outbound Roaming

When airtel customers travel outside Malawi and  roam on other networks using their airtel SIMcard

Postpaid Roaming

Postpaid roaming is available for Airtel  subscribers upon request. Fill an application form  obtainable at any airtel shop or contact our customer care for assistance

Our dedicated postpaid teams will contact you for confirmation and a  brief of the roaming service

Apply for roaming 48 hours before you travel to activate your international  roaming service.

Confirm if airtel has roaming agreements with any operator in the  country or countries you are visiting.

Prepaid Roaming

  • This service is available to  all airtel Malawi prepaid customers. No special provisioning is required as all  subscribers are provisioned with the service by default.
  • Customers have the ability to  send and receive calls, SMS and receive SMS and in some countries are allowed  to use data services using the airtel simcard on the roaming partner network.
  • airtel Malawi  prepaid customers traveling to other  countries need to switch on their phones and select the network which has the  prepaid roaming agreement with airtel Malawi to enjoy the service.
  • Customers on prepaid roaming  service can recharge airtime using airtel Malawi  recharge vouchers before they travel.  Customers can also receive airtime through Me2U or they can recharges with  Malawi recharge vouchers whilst on roaming.
  • To recharge  dial *136*recharge PIN# and to share airtime customer  should go to > airtel simcard  Menu>Me2U>>>
  • Each Me2U service is charged local SMS rate of K10 per SMS
  • Prepaid Roaming Balance check  dial *123#


  • Roaming provides a seamless network  service between airtel Malawi and prepaid roaming partner networks; voice, SMS,  and data. Customer keeps your phone number without the need to change into an  international format
  • Privacy – your number is dialed  with no international prefix, no one need know you are out of the country
  • Customers do not have to worry  about purchasing a new SIM card at each international location.
  • 24/7 service availability
  • Convenient and affordable access  to the airtel customer when traveling overseas.
  • Roaming brings a sense of pride  and plight
  • The charges for roaming calls  have been defined into the roaming charges during negotiating agreement  processes with the roaming partners and these vary with different roaming  partners around the world.


Data  and Roaming Cost-Saving Tips

  • International data costs can  hit your travel budget hard. They increase when abroad and data provided with  your monthly subscription plan does not include international data roaming  especially when it comes to using a tablet.
  • Make sure that none of your  apps will override your data roaming settings and turn your data back on.
  • Use Wi-Fi hotspots when  available. Many airports and hotels have free Wi-Fi.
  • If you do want to access the  Internet or GPS outside of Wi-Fi hotspots, turn data roaming on only when you  are using it.
  • Switch off all free services  that you subscribe to. Certain GPRS based applications viz. GPS, Facebook,  Twitter, Widgets, RSS Feeds, Email, weather updates, News, Blackberry Messenger  or any other instant messaging application etc. as they continuously consume  data bandwidth leading to high Data-Roaming charges even  when you are not using the same. This is applicable to smart phones and  high-end GPRS capable handsets whose software poll (communicate with) the home  network continuously.
  • Download a data usage  monitoring app. There are many available for BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and  Android.
  • Check status of your call  forwarding to ensure you cancel all call forwards before you travel abroad.
  • You may want to review/cancel  any call diverts that you may have activated as there will be two-way Roaming  charging on Voicemail services and on conditional call forwarding while  roaming.
  • For detailed information on our  roaming policy and the cost of roaming in your destination click here

Leaving your comfort zone?  Please note

GPRS/3G automatic and free service downloads in Malawi will be charged  for while roaming (emails, weather updates, RSS feeds etc.).

  • We advise you take an informed  decision on whether to keep these applications switched-on, while you are on  roaming as you will be liable for all charges as a result of the same. Most  smart phones and Blackberry devices allow the users to choose the option to switch data off while roaming. Please make the changes before leaving. For assistance call our customer care or visit  any of our service centers
  • Loss/Theft of SIM card or  mobile phone while overseas should be reported to airtel immediately. In case  the theft is not reported immediately, all usage till the time of reporting  will be payable by customer. This can be done by sending an email to or calling +265999900121 / +265999900222
  • These tips will help you  control your data usage while travelling and avoid the shock of a large bill  when you come home.

Turning  Off Your Data Settings

  • Turn off your data services if  you don’t want to use them overseas. See how to do this for your phone below.


  • Go to Menu> Manage  Connections> Mobile Network Options>
  • Ensure that Data Services  ‘While Roaming’ is turned off or turn ALL DATA services off
  • Please  note: BlackBerry Smartphone services once subscribed  are only free while in Malawi. They will be charged for while roaming. These  include BBM (charged as per SMS), email (charged as data download) and any  other special services.


Delete ALL APN Settings:

  • Go to Settings> General>  Network> Cellular Data Network>
  • Delete the content from the APN  field – press Network
  • Turn off Data Roaming
  • Turn off Cellular Data


Delete ALL APN Settings:

  • Go to Menu> Settings>  Wireless & Networks> Mobile Network>
  • Open Access Point Names (APN)
  • Open APN
  • Go to Menu > Delete APN
  • Repeat for all APNs

Do you have a different phone? Please look at  your phone’s manual to see how to turn off data settings. If you’re still  having trouble or you’d like more info, email us at call us on +265999900121 or +26599990022 and we’ll gladly  help you out. Bon Voyage!