DAR ES SALAAM : Tanzania will soon join the East African Community (EAC) one network area which harmonizes mobile phone tariffs on voice calls within the East African Community.
The Director General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Dr. Ally Yahaya Simba, said the harmonization of mobile call tariffs which will significantly reduce roaming charges for calls originating from other EAC Partner States would come into effect as soon as the existing telecommunications policies and regulations have been revised.
Dr. Simba said first to be harmonized would be roaming charges on voice calls with data charges to follow later.
The EAC Heads of State Summit at their last meeting directed the Council of Ministers to expedite the implementation of the framework for harmonized EAC roaming charges, including the removal of surcharges for international telecommunications traffic originating and terminating within the EAC by July 15th, 2015.
The regional framework for the One-Network-Area applies to telephone calls originating and terminating within the region and mandates members to adopt the following: Exemption of regional calls from surcharges applied by member states on international incoming calls.
No additional charges to subscribers on account of roaming within the region. And no charges for receiving calls while roaming within the region
Dr. Simba was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha.
The TCRA CEO, who was on a familiarization tour of the EAC Secretariat, was accompanied by TCRA’s Deputy Director (Zonal Coordination), Mr. Victor Nkya; Deputy Director (Postal Affairs), Mr. Haruni Lemanya; Northern Zone Manager Eng. Annette Matindi, and; Mr. Julius Felix, Senior Frequency Management Scientist.
In his remarks, Amb. Dr Sezibera said the EAC One Area Network which has already been implemented by Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda would greatly enhance business within the Community.
Dr Sezibera said the Community had prioritized four main areas where progress must be made to drive the EAC integration process forward, namely Communications (harmonization of roaming charges); civil aviation (high air travel fares); one stop border posts (transit charges), and; the need to actively engage the private sector in the integration process.
The Secretary General said the EAC was currently negotiating with the Republic of South Sudan on the possibility of integrating the region’s broadband networks with the world’s youngest nation as a way of reducing voice and data roaming charges.
Dr Sezibera disclosed that postal numbering systems in the region would be harmonized so that people can be identified with their locations or residences.
He hailed the EAC Electronic Transactions (e-Transactions) Bill which is currently before the East African Legislative Assembly, adding that the Bill would provide a legal framework to govern online transactions which is a fast growing sector in the region.
Also present at the function was Mr Philip Wambugu, the Director of Infrastructure at the EAC Secretariat.