In a rare statement on mobile telephone rates, the African Union has decried the high cost of roaming charges on the continent, saying it is hurting customers’ ability to travel and maintain connectivity. The AU also urged operators to look closely at the rising roaming rates and to help bring the prices down.
African Union Commission ICT Policy Officer Auguste Yankey said this “could affect the growth of inter-Africa trade and that the AU is working with national governments and themobile network operators to develop guidelines that will provide consumers with affordable services.”
Yankey was speaking at a workshop in Nairobi, jointly organized by the African Telecommunications Union, African Union and Internet Society, that ends today.
The workshop aims to develop draft guidelines on reducing the costs of mobile roaming in Africa, which will be circulated to national regulators and operators to assist them in determining the most appropriate way to apply them in their own markets.
The conference brought over 90 delegates from 22 African countries development partners, private sector operators and academia.
Kenya’s Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the “need for cross-border trade makes reduction of Africa’s roaming cost imperative.”
Matiang’i continued that Kenya’s biggest trading partners are its east African neighbors.
The cabinet secretary urged African countries to explore the use of market incentives that will lead to a significant reduction in the price of international mobile roaming.