Regulators review progress of ECOWAS Regulation on Roaming

Donna B. Jones

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Among the stakeholders tasked with obligations toward the implementation of the Regulation are the Nationwide Regulatory Authorities, NRAs, of the Telecommunications/ICT sector in Member States.

In a bid to evaluate the development produced in the implementation by mobile operators in the area, focal points from the NRAs, under the coordination of the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications/ICT of Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI) held a workshop in Accra, Ghana on 7th and 8th April 2022.

Especially, the workshop aimed to validate the status of tasks assigned by the Director Generals and Presidents of the NRAs, namely, on proposals for the standardisation of roaming tariffs throughout the region, the institution of a regional mechanism for addressing fraud inside the framework of implementation of the Regulation and the results of assessments carried out to validate the tariffs staying utilized for roaming solutions.

In his handle to the conference, Raphael Koffi, Acting Director for Digital Financial system and Put up at the ECOWAS Fee, welcomed the focal points to the assembly and congratulated them for the initiatives hence much in making certain the realistic application of the Regulation, whiles noting that far more tangible outcomes have been recorded in the implementation in the eighteen months since the Specialized Committee of focal points was recognized by the NRA, than in the complete period of time since the adoption of the Regulation.

He famous the new trends to easing of movement and border constraints imposed because of to the covid-19 pandemic, with the expectation of raise in cross-border movements and intra-regional vacation to pre-pandemic concentrations.

With this progress, he claimed, totally free roaming is certain to have appreciable financial impact on citizens and operators.

He as a result admonished the focal factors to stage up present-day attempts in addressing and eliminating persistent bottlenecks in the direction of increasing the rate of implementation of the regulation for the benefit of the travelling public.

Anthony Omoshie, symbolizing the Govt Secretary of the West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) invited the Regulators to definitively translate the aspirations for roaming in the region into reality so as to allow citizens gain from this impactful initiative for the progress of telecommunications in West Africa.

He extra that the gradual reduction of roaming rates will lower limitations to trade, and also to endorse creative imagination and innovation.

In accordance to the statement by the ECOWAS Commission, Joe Anokye, Director-Normal of National Communications Authority of Ghana, in his opening handle, expressed appreciation to the focal points for their attempts therefore much in contributing to make roaming far more cost-effective inside the region.

He reiterated the motivation of Ghana to the implementation of the Regulation on Roaming, pointing out that this sort of determination has been demonstrated by the modification of Ghana’s communications regulation to waive the surcharge on international incoming targeted visitors from intra-regional roaming website traffic in line with the Regulation.

He extra that by expressing the expectation that the focal factors will make development in coming up with concrete proposals to handle the persistent problems for thing to consider by the Heads of the Countrywide Regulatory Authorities.

The assertion noted that at the end of the conference, the focal points validated a report on the worldwide position of the implementation of roaming companies in line with the regulation. Twelve  Member States, particularly Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, have commenced implementation of the Regulation and 20-four (24) mobile operators in these Member States have declared compliance with just one or more provisions of the regulation, which contain the software of tariffs for voice, SMS and info expert services whiles roaming in line with tariff ceilings released by the ECOWAS Fee and the no cost reception of phone calls for a highest of thirty (30) days whiles roaming.

“This development represents an achievement level of 34% of the world-wide expert services implementation. The focal factors agreed on a plan for coordinated screening to validate these declarations by the operators and also reviewed a proposed framework for combating fraud in the provision of roaming services.

“Recommendations have been also designed to deal with the persistent bottlenecks hindering the complete implementation by all operators within the region. The position report will be introduced to ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunications/ICT for consideration and endorsement prior to submission to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers,” the assertion included.

 

GIK/APA

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