EAST AFRICA’S ROAMING CHARGES CAUSING ECONOMIC HITCHES.

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Regional telephone roaming charges have rendered investment in East Africa difficult since enforcement; the issue has brought together the region’s ICT ministers to discuss on tethering the dominating plight.

The East African leaders have agreed to jointly explore mechanisms of lowering both voice messaging and data roaming charges in order to support regional trade among the countries.

“It doesn’t make sense if we want to support regional trade to have a situation where it cost sh3 to call the USA, but you pay sh30 to make a call to Rwanda and we are all determined to bring down the cost of calls in the region,” said Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Among solutions is defining wholesale and retail price caps for roaming charges based on best prices, harmonizing SIM registration in the region to enable sharing of subscribers’ data, leveraging on ICT to improve services delivery and enhance e-commerce in the region.

The leaders are however doing studies and will also engage all the regulators in the countries for them to come up with reasonable options for business and sensible for regulatory.

“We should also consider the harmonization of cross-border connectivity and broadband pricing in the region putting into consideration standards, taxes and prices that will encourage broadband uptake,” said Uganda’s ICT Minister John Nasasira.