Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ecowas to abolish mobile phone roaming fees



Members of the Economic Community of West African States bloc have resolved to abolish mobile phone roaming fees from the beginning of 2018.

The decision was reached at a meeting of Ministers in charge of ICT from the regional bloc in the Cape Verdean capital, Praia at the weekend.

The 15th meeting of the Ecowas ministers approved the revised draft supplementary act on Universal Access and Services, along with several other documents designed to foster the development of ICT and regional integration.

Ecowas comprises 14 member countries with the aim of economic integration.

The region has one of the highest mobile phone roaming fees in the world. For instance, a Nigerian on roaming in Europe pays five times more than they would while on roaming within the Ecowas region.

Officials said the Praia resolution was part of the bloc’s efforts to establish a single digital market.

The Ecowas Commissioner for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Mr Isaias Barreto, said in a statement that the move would occasion “tremendous contributions” to the regional integration process.

Mr Barreto was quoted earlier saying the telecommunications costs in the sub-region were too high compared to the purchasing power of the populations.

Ecowas was founded by Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania (left 2002), Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Burkina Faso (which joined as Upper Volta).