In a move seeking to reduce the cost of doing cross-border trade within the East African countries, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South have reached an understanding. That will see to it that the cost of sending SMS between the member states slashed significantly as part of the ‘One Network Area’ arrangement.
The proposed slashed prices are said to take effect come October 2015 during the heads of state meeting in Nairobi at the 11th Northern Corridor Integration Project Summit. Currently, the participating East African countries, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are working on reducing the cost of sending an SMS to drop to Ksh.1.
It has however emerged that subscribers in Uganda will have to wait a bit longer. Given the telecommunication companies in that country are yet to implement the proposal on tax removal on SMS and data roaming services all the other three countries. South Sudan subscribers will also not benefit as soon as the deal is implemented because the communications oversight authority lacks the constitutional ground to handle such matters.
These two countries will probably take about two months to execute the agreement reached by the East African countries to cut down the cost of sending SMS between the countries. For Kenya and Rwanda, it is all systems go when the due date arrives, given the government have already met with the telecommunication service providers and reached an agreement.
Although telecom firms: Safaricom, Airtel, MTN and Tigo were earlier opposed to the move arguing that it will significantly cut down their revenue. As attested to by the massive charges they proposed during the Northern Corridor Integration Project Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda back in March, 6 2015.
According to the telecoms, the cost of sending SMS while roaming in Rwanda and Uganda ought to be $0.12 in bundles, while out of bundles should be $0.22. In Kenya, they said the cost should be $0.11 in bundles and $0.20 in Rwanda.
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