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EAC countries to meet over one area mobile network

Communications Authority (CA) director general Francis Wangusi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Communications Authority (CA) director general Francis Wangusi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The six member States of the East African Community (EAC) are set to meet this week in Rwanda to push for the implementation of the One Area Mobile Network, officials said on Monday.

Kenya's Communication Authority Director General Francis Wangusi told Xinhua that Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan are already part of the single network.

"Later this week EAC ministers in charge of telecommunications will discuss ways to fast track operationalization of the single network," Wangusi said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Administrative Council of the pan-African postal union.

Once the single area network is effective, all intra-EAC mobile tariffs will be harmonized so that the calls within the trading bloc will be treated as local calls.

Wangusi said that the overall objective is to reduce the cost of communication in the region.

"It is unfortunate that it is cheaper to call Europe, Asia and the US from EAC partner states than it is to call other member states," said Wangusi.

While South Sudan has joined the single network, it is yet to implement the network, and Tanzania will have to amend its telecom laws before it becomes part of the network.

Wangusi said that due to civil strife in Burundi, it may take the country longer than expected to join the single mobile network.

The one area network will be a building block to the Smart Africa Initiative that aims to make Africa a single mobile area network.

Wangusi noted that so far 14 countries including Kenya have joined the Smart Africa Initiative.

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