Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda And South Sudan Agree to Slash Roaming Charges

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda And South Sudan have agreed on a regional telecommunications framework to establish a "One Network Area" by the end of his year.

When fully operational, charges on phones calls within the region could drop by 60 percent.

The One-Network-Area is being implemented following a directive of the 5th Heads of State Summit held in Kenya back in May 2014.

Rwanda Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said regional telecoms and governments need to work together to achieve seamless roaming in the Northern Corridor which comprises Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Subscribers travelling within the region will be charged as local subscribers in the visited country network. The subscriber will only incur prevailing calling rates of the visited network similar to what local subscribers pay.

Nasasira, Uganda's Minister of ICT said: "It is important that our regional telecom operators work together to make this communication milestone a reality."

Operators within the region shall be required to re-negotiate their bilateral agreements to ensure the full implementation by 1st September 2014 for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and 31st December 2014 for South Sudan.

Dr. Matiang'i, the Cabinet Secretary, Kenya's Ministry of ICT said the telecom industry has to come together to establish a permanent platform that allows the sector to grow to benefit consumers.

Data also shows that border trade and exchanges will boom - with citizens able to use their regular SIM cards for calls while traveling in the corridor. Initially, customers were forced to buy several SIMs to use in different states.

Currently, the cost of regional roaming is higher than the cost of calling international destinations like Europe.