East African Community Seek to Abolish Roaming Charges

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Members of the East African Community block have agreed on a regional telecommunications framework to establish a “One Network Area” by the end of this year.

When the whole deal is done, phone calls within the region could drop by 60 percent. This idea was brought about by five the 5th Heads of State Summit held in Kenya back in May 2014.

Rwanda’s minister for Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said regional telecoms and governments need to work together to achieve seamless roaming in the Northern Corridor which comprises Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Subscribers travelling within the region will be charged as local subscribers in the visited country network. The subscriber will only incur prevailing calling rates of the visited network similar to what local subscribers pay.

Operators within the region shall be required to re-negotiate their bilateral agreements to ensure the full implementation by 1st September 2014 for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and 31st December 2014 for South Sudan.

Dr. Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary, Kenya’s Ministry of ICT, said the telecom industry has to come together to establish a permanent platform that allows the sector to grow to benefit consumers.