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EAC soon complete cross-border mobile frequency coordination

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- East Africa Community (EAC) member states have agreed to complete cross-border frequency coordination by the end of 2018, an official said on Monday.

Ally Simba, Executive Secretary of East African Communications Organization (EACO), told a media briefing in Nairobi that that people living at border areas in the region have for long experienced forced roaming as a result of cross-border mobile network interferences.

Simba said that this has resulted in those residents paying high roaming charges to access mobile telecommunications services.

Speaking during the 25th East African Communications Organization (EACO) meeting of assemblies, Simba said cross-border frequency coordination for mobile services has been done in 90 percent of the borders and the verification exercise by the regulators is ongoing.

He noted that the aim of the coordination exercise is to reduce forced roaming so that users are able to connect to their home networks without interference from the neighboring country’s networks.

Simba added that cross-border frequency coordination for broadcasting services has also commenced and the work of implementing the cross-border framework for broadcasting should be complete by the end of the year.

Peter Munya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the EAC Ministry, said the EAC member states and private ICT firms in the region have in the past initiated projects that are not only fostering integration among people but have also lowered the cost of doing business in the region.

Munya said among the most successful is the multi-country initiative that harmonized the regional mobile roaming market with the objective of having affordable access to roaming services for both voice and data.

He noted that the One Network Area roaming initiative that currently includes Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan has significantly reduced the high cost of mobile roaming.

He added that Tanzania and Burundi are set to join the initiative by the end of the year so that all calls within the trading bloc are treated as local calls.

Munya said that while the One Network Area has been a success in respect to voice services, a lot still remains to be done in the area of data services.

"EAC telecom regulators and network operators should ensure that the roaming charges for data are also part of the single area network so that they are more affordable to residents of the economic bloc," he said.

EACO draws its members from the communications national regulatory agencies, postal, telecoms, broadcasting, and internet service providers from all the six partner states of the EAC.



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