The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says its citizens travelling within the sub-region will from January 2020 pay no roaming charges, following the implementation of the ECOWAS Roaming Initiative, reports Ghanaweb. The initiative is aimed at creating an enabling environment for the international mobile roaming market to ensure affordable access to roaming services for voice, SMS and data.
Ghana’s minister of communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, said the initiative will reduce roaming rates within the ECOWAS sub-region, promote cross border investments and encourage competition among operators to reduce call charges. Ekuful said all fifteen ECOWAS-member countries were committed to completing all the legal and administrative processes required to facilitate the roaming initiative by 31 December. The minister added that a GHC 0.6 surcharge on all incoming international calls must be removed for all ECOWAS traffic. Ekuful noted that MNOs in Ghana are therefore required to conclude roaming agreements with operators in the ECOWAS region by 31 December.
“From January 1, 2020, all ECOWAS citizens travelling within the region will experience no roaming tariffs but will roam at local rates,” she said.
All 15 ECOWAS-member countries were committed to completing all the legal and administrative processes required to facilitate the roaming initiative by December 31, 2019.
According to the minister, the implementation of the ECOWAS roaming initiative will enhance regional integration and economic development and facilitate Ghana’s hosting of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). She noted that experiences from other regions that have implemented free roaming in their jurisdictions demonstrate exponential growth in traffic volumes with corresponding revenue increase.