Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are at a crossroads to reduce the roaming costs of calls across their countries. The countries came together to implement what they called the East Africa One Network Area’ agreement, but there is a staggered response from the telecom companies.
The deadline to harmonize the calls have passed with the latest developments being Kenya’s Safaricom announcing the reduction of roaming costs to Rwanda only to backtrack, citing additional levies to international calls in Kenya. However MTN Rwanda and Tigo Rwanda have reduced their roaming costs in accordance with the agreement.
According to KT Press, the Director General of Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA), Patrick Nyirishema said on Wednesday 8th October that calling charges within the Northern Corridor including Kenya are not supposed to exceed $0.10 (Rwf 68) per minute for both pre- and post-paid subscribers.
Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi during a press conference dismissed claims in as a section of the media that the process has stalled saying charges across the borders had actually been reduced by 60 % in the three Countries. He added that, the process was on-going and would be launched soon as directed by the Northern Corridor Heads of States Summit in June.
Uganda’s ICT Minister John Nasasira said, “The One Network Area is just the beginning towards the road to easing the cost of doing business in our region.”
The region will need to be more intentional to reduce roaming costs that will in turn grow businesses across East Africa.