EAC telecos to further reduce calling tariffs

Share it

EAC telecos to further reduce calling tariffs

While the benefits of fast tracked infrastructure projects are going to be felt in the near future when the new highways, railways, ports, pipelines and refineries are ready; immediate benefits for the people of the region seem direct.

Things are falling into place and progress has been made on several fronts now. Traveling across the three, and by early 2015 hopefully four of the EAC member states when Burundi is very likely to come on board, has been simplified.

 Citizens can now use their national ID cards, and in the absence of those voters cards to cross the borders when traveling on business or to visit families and friends.

The telecoms companies across the three partner countries will, now effective 01st of November, reduce regional tariffs and scrap roaming fees, after the initial date of 01st of October could not be kept due to one country first having to remove certain levies and taxes before tariffs could be aligned.

This will encourage the use by travelers of their own home mobile phone numbers when moving across the region and will spare individuals, by and large anyway, having to buy Sim cards for the sake of getting access to cheaper tariffs.

The telecoms companies however are yet to confirm that this will also apply for the use of data services, which of late were the real cash cow, and often unbeknown to users inflicted serious financial damage to them when the bills eventually arrived two or three months later.

The biggest real benefit though was announced late last week when Bharti Airtel, Africa’s largest network in terms of countries and subscribers, revealed that they had received clearance from the Central Banks of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to begin cross border mobile money transfers.

Mobile money transactions from one’s cellphone, have in recent years gained sharply in popularity, in part as a backlash towards the attitude of banks against ordinary folks, who had to endure and suffer indignities and bureaucratic red tape to establish bank accounts, apart from the fees slapped on them often threatening to wipe out the little amounts those folks could afford to put into a bank.

Mobile money, now offered by all major telecom players in the region, became the saviour for those hundreds of thousands, if not millions by now, allowing them to pay from their mobile phone money account their water bills, electricity bills, school fees, air and bus tickets and even now increasingly often for fuel taken at petrol stations or at a growing number of shops for purchases made.

However, it is the facility now being launched of sending money across the three countries which will further open doors for increased trade and travel, fulfilling the political aspirations and breathing life into the new union.

 Funds kept in the national currency will be converted into the currency of the country of the recipient, be it the Rwandan Franc, the Kenya or Uganda Shilling, at least until such time that the envisaged currency union kicks off in a few years’ time.

East African tourism stakeholders were swift to applaud the measure, saying that it will further support the concept of expanding domestic travel into regional travel, now that mobile money account holders will be able to use the option for payment of services while traveling across neighbouring countries.



About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

More posts by | Visit the site of Ndaka



You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment




Warning: Illegal string offset 'id' in /home/wp_ts2em7/rwandaeye.com/wp-content/themes/manifesto/footer.php on line 4

Warning: Illegal string offset 'id' in /home/wp_ts2em7/rwandaeye.com/wp-content/themes/manifesto/footer.php on line 4

Warning: Illegal string offset 'id' in /home/wp_ts2em7/rwandaeye.com/wp-content/themes/manifesto/footer.php on line 4