Regional leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda have called for the speedy implementation of the One Network Area to have the cost of calling around the region drop and effected by end of January 2015.
The directive, once effected, means mobile phone users roaming will be charged less.
The leaders, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, while meeting last week for the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, directed the respective ministers of Finance and ICT to resolve all outstanding issues holding back the system.
“The Summit directed the ministers to operationalise the One Network Area for SMS, Data and Mobile Financial Services and implement the framework developed by the cluster to fast-track various projects,” the communiqué of agenda read in part.
One Area Network mandates member countries to exempt regional calls from surcharges applied by member states on international incoming calls and scrap any additional charges to subscribers on account of roaming within the region.
Once the system is implemented, subscribers will not be charged for roaming within the region for receiving calls while travelling within the member states. Subscribers will instead be charged as local subscribers in the visited country network.
Tanzania and Burundi, also members of the East African Community (EAC), were however excluded from the framework which is in tandem with the ongoing efforts to promote integration among the five countries under the Northern Corridor infrastructure plan.
The ICT minister, Mr John Nasasira, or his deputy Nyombi Thembo were not readily available to comment on the progress of implementation of the framework.
But the communications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission had said earlier that implementation had been held up to allow telecom operators both within Uganda and other EAC countries “negotiate a specific call rate.”
SOURCE: Daily Monitor