Zim to enjoy lower roaming tariffs

HARARE - Zimbabwean mobile telecommunication subscribers are set to benefit from lower roaming charges in the region after four Southern African Development Community (Sadc) states agreed to cut international roaming costs.

This comes after mobile operators in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe last week arranged to reduce roaming tariffs as part of a pilot roaming project, which will commence among all operators in the four countries by September 1, 2015.

Currently, the challenge being faced by Sadc countries is an unaffordable international mobile roaming tariff.

However, the bloc decided to intervene at the regional level and seeks to regulate roaming services following recognition that it is a challenge for an originating country to regulate the roaming tariff of a visited country.

Telecommunication experts say this would allow for better consumer welfare as well as accelerate regional integration thereby facilitating the social and economic development of the region.

Infrastructure and Services Directorate director, Remigious Makumbe said he was satisfied with the good progress that has been made so far with regards to the preparatory progress for the implementation of the Sadc home and away roaming project.

“We have been informed of the glide patch, which mobile operators have already started to implement,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran), which hosted officials from the four countries in Windhoek last week to discuss the idea, said mobile operators will commence making the necessary arrangements to implement a glide path.

“This will be done on a bilateral basis between the four countries. All mobile operators of the four member states participating in the pilot project should commence making the necessary arrangements to implement the glide path as agreed at the meeting including amending their bilateral roaming agreements,” Cran said in a statement.

The regulatory authority noted that the wholesale and retail tariffs will be reduced annually in line with the glide path as approved by the Sadc ICT ministers.

“Operators will not be forced to go into reduced tariff agreements with operators in countries that are not participating in the pilot project. However, other member states wishing to participate in the project prior to October 1 are welcome to participate and mobile operators should engage their respective mobile roaming partners to ensure their participation,” Cran said.

Cran also noted that the utilisation of existing direct links between member states should be addressed at policy level to ensure further reduction of costs and to avoid routing of regional traffic via international carriers or agents.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.