By Anita Ashaba
Making calls while travelling across Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda will, beginning October 1, be more affordable after telecom firms operating in the three countries agreed to reduce and harmonise roaming fees, according to Patrick Nyirishema, the director general of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura).
Making calls while travelling across Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda will, beginning October 1, be more affordable after telecom firms operating in the three countries agreed to reduce and harmonise roaming fees.
According to The New Times, the three Northern Corridor countries were committed to scrapping roaming charges between themselves.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda agreed to cap the minimum roaming charges in the three states to help boost integration of the East African Community (EAC).
“We are committed to achieving this objective. However, Uganda’s sector regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission, has had to review their policy, which delayed the process,” said Nyirishema.
He said he was optimistic that once Uganda is on board, they would fast-track the one area network project.
Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda had earlier agreed to cap the roaming charges across the three states, which currently are at an average of Rwf4.16 per second to Uganda and Rwf2.04 per second to Kenya, beginning this month. Calling Uganda or Kenya from Rwanda currently costs more than calling Asia or the US, with the high tariffs being caused partly by taxes.
The one area network initiative will significantly reduce the cost of doing business in the region once it is implemented. South Sudan is set to join the project later this year.
All the five EAC member states had hiked roaming charges over the past few years, which increased the cost of doing business across the region.
“We will launch the one area network with Kenyan operators on October 1… The new rates will definitely be low compared to the current ones,” said Teta Mpyisi, the corporate communications manager at MTN Rwanda.
She added that subscribers will also receive calls while roaming across EAC at no extra charge.