Published On: Sat, Jan 17th, 2015

East Africa moves towards an integrated Telecommunication

VENTURES AFRICA – As part of ongoing regional integration efforts, the East African Community (EAC), last year, agreed to harmonize telecommunications services within the region such that all calls between member countries will be billed as though they were local calls, this was received with excitement among the member nations. Implementation of the initiative dubbed the “One Network Area” was slated to begin on Monday, 1st September, 2014.

As implementation continues, Safaricom has made moves to discount roaming rates for roaming calls made in Uganda following the adoption of the One Network Area initiative by the country. Recently, the telco operator had also cut roaming rates for its subscribers in 21 countries.

Because of this, Safaricom subscribers will receive calls for free while roaming in Uganda, they will also enjoy a flat rate of Kshs 10 ($0.11) for calls between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, a 95 percent reduction from the former rate of Kshs 215 ($2.35) a minute.

A growing allegiance

A growing allegiance

“This is a significant step towards the greater East Africa integration. A reduction of this kind will boost trade opportunities between these two key East African nations. We remain committed to identifying more opportunities to lower roaming rates for more countries in the region,” commented Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s CEO.

This arrangement is valid for calls from Kenya to Uganda, as well as calls to Kenya while roaming in Uganda and local calls made while roaming in Uganda. Additionally, calls to Rwanda when roaming in Uganda, and calls received while roaming in Uganda will also be catered for under the new tariff structure.

Operators from Kenya and Rwanda continue to implement the proposed framework with the new rates taking effect since Wednesday, 1st October 2014.

Call traffic has significantly increased since the reduction in roaming rates. Calls originated by Safaricom subscribers while roaming in Rwanda has increased by 85 per cent, while calls received by Safaricom subscribers roaming in Rwanda increased by 101 per cent.

 

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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East Africa moves towards an integrated Telecommunication
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