(Ecofin Agency) - Since 2014, East African Community member countries have been implementing measures to harmonize roaming rates. Four countries have implemented the measures. They are namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan.
The East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council on Transport, Communications, and Meteorology has ordered Tanzania and Burundi to harmonize their roaming rates with community standards by August 30, 2023. The two countries are required to present the tariff harmonization status at the next EAC Heads of State Summit.
In 2014, the EAC Council of Ministers developed a roaming framework aimed at harmonizing roaming rates in the region, via a platform called One Network Area. The framework, approved by Heads of state in 2015, imposes a cap on roaming prices as well as the removal of surcharges on cross-border telecom traffic.
All the member countries have implemented the guidelines except for Tanzania and Burundi. Steps to bring the two countries on board have not yet been completed. In December 2020, after internal consultations, Tanzania said it was ready to implement the EAC roaming framework. Burundi, on the other hand, indicated that internal consultations on the implementation of the framework were still underway.
The implementation of the roaming framework guidelines is expected to reduce costs, and boost telephone communications between EAC countries, therefore providing additional revenues to both the operators operating in the region and the member countries.
Isaac K. Kassouwi