Safaricom Suspends Lower Calling & Roaming Rates in Rwanda After Kagame Directive


On Tuesday Safaricom announced a reduction of International and Roaming tariffs between Kenya and Rwanda, a move welcomed by the regional businesses and tourism community as it saw a reduction in firms and individuals voice costs, hence saving them money.

Bad news is that today, the firm has suspended the reduced calling and roaming rates, hours after it announced them due to a new directive issued by the Rwanda government introducing new levies on international calling and roaming tariffs between Kenya and Rwanda.

In a statement made available to TechMoran, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore said: “This new developments make it impossible for operators in Kenya and Rwanda to go ahead with the planned downward revision in tariffs. We will therefore revert to the previous tariffs even as we push on with efforts to ensure that we have affordable calling rates for the region.”

Had Rwanda not pulled this last minute slap, it would have cost Kshs. 10 per minute for Safaricom customers to make calls to Rwanda. Customers visiting Rwanda would also pay Kshs. 10 to call back home and within Rwanda. The move would also have scrapped the charges for receiving calls while roaming in Rwanda- which previously stood at Kshs. 25 per minute.

Safaricom isn’t giving up just yet. Collymore, in the statement assured Safaricom’s customers that the firm remains committed to the effective implementation of One Network Area initiative which calls for reduction of International and Roaming tariffs reduced to lower costs of doing business and deepen social integration in the entire region.

The firm is in talks with the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the regulator Communications Authority of Kenya, seeking a revision of the position taken by the Rwanda government but we think the talks might yield no fruit as Communications Authority of Kenya has no mandate or jurisdiction to force Rwanda into submission. We wish them luck though.

The last tariff review between Kenya and Rwanda was effected in October 2013, when governments within the region introduced taxes to international calls forcing operators to revise their rates upwards.