From 2014, member countries of the East African Community have developed and adopted measures to harmonize roaming telephone call rates. These measures have already been implemented by Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.
The Transport, Communications and Meteorology Sectoral Committee of the East African Community (EAC) has ordered Tanzania and Burundi to harmonize their roaming telephone call rates with those of other members of the block. Both countries have until August 30 to comply.
Tanzania and Burundi are required to present the status of tariff harmonization implementation to the next EAC Heads of State Summit.
As early as 2014, the EAC Council of Ministers developed a roaming framework aimed at harmonizing the tariffs for roaming telephone calls in the region, via a platform called One Network Area. Approved by Heads of State in 2015, the framework imposes a cap on roaming prices as well as the elimination of surcharges on cross-border telecom traffic.
All member countries have implemented the guidelines except Tanzania and Burundi. The steps to join the two countries have not yet been successful. In December 2020, Tanzania declared that it is ready to implement the EAC Roaming Framework after concluding its internal consultations. Burundi, for its part, indicated that internal consultations on the implementation of the framework were still ongoing.
Implementation of the Roaming Framework guidelines is expected to reduce costs and boost telephone communications between EAC countries. The increase in traffic should also guarantee additional revenues for the region’s telecom operators and the States.