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