The East African Community (EAC) is holding talks on expanding the one-area mobile network to cover all member states, an official has said.
Francis Wangusi, Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya, told a regional internet forum in Nairobi that currently, only Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are members of the single mobile area network.
"We are currently in talks so that Tanzania and Burundi can also join the one-area mobile network where all calls amongst countries will be treated as domestic calls," Wangusi said.
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have formed a one-area network under the Northern Transport Corridor Network. When fully implemented, the network will reduce the cost of making calls across the trading bloc.
"The direct result is that volume of inter-country calls will increase and this will help to promote EAC regional integration efforts," Wangusi said.
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He said in order for the six-member EAC bloc to have a single network, some hurdles need to be overcome, including changing telecom legislations of Tanzania and Burundi.
He however said Tanzania and Burundi were ready to amend their legislations in order to join the network due to the numerous benefits its citizens they will receive."It will reduce the cost of mobile communication across the EAC, which will in turn spur more cross-border trade," he added.
The implementation of the one-area network will see harmonisation of tariffs on mobile voice calls, SMS and data transmission within the region.
The meeting also agreed on scrapping charges incurred when receiving calls while roaming, meaning that someone will be only be required to pay the domestic rates for making calls.