(Ecofin Agency) - G5 Sahel member countries (Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad) have started the process to abolish telecom roaming charges among them.
Last August 4 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the regional alliance’s Permanent Secretariat adopted a roadmap to implement by 2019 the project called “free roaming”. Tontama Charles Millogo, MD of Burkina Faso's communication and post regulatory agency (Arcep), explained that the tariff standardization will foster higher integration of populations and ease communication between countries as to fight terrorism.
However, the move will cut operators’ roaming revenue. Therefore, Mikailou Sidibé, Utility Expert at the G5 Sahel, provided a solution explaining that the “free roaming”, "benefits each party as it increases international telecom traffic that will offset, in the very short term, the losses or apprehensions at the process’ beginning".
Like the G5 Sahel, part of the East African Community (EAC), led by Kenya, has been experimenting the process since 2015. As well, part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Senegal, also kicked off the move on March 30, 2017.
Member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are still preparing required legal procedures for the advent of free-roaming by 2019. And Central African countries intend to leverage Smart Africa- Organization’s “One Area Network” project that promotes development and technological cooperation on the continent to address telecom roaming issues.