Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda strike deal to lower roaming rates
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Plans are underway to lower roaming rates among Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Tanzania is not part of the deal because it has missed a number of talks that led to the pact.
The deal will be struck after June budgets but details of the new roaming rates would be made public in May 2, according to Kenya ICT cabinet secretary, Fred Matiang’i.
The roaming charges in the region are very high due to the different tax regimes levied by the governments.
Kenya is the only East Africa state that does not levy any taxes on cross-border calls hence its push for a common termination.
The new deal shows that taxes levied on international calls by Uganda and Rwanda would be reviewed downwards to pave way for lower rates.
“We have already identified key factors that contribute to high roaming charges across the region and on May 2 we will be having a meeting where we will announce the new policy that will bring the charges down,” Dr Matiang’i said at the recent Connected Kenya summit in Mombasa.
Tanzania charges Sh10, Rwanda nine shillings and Burundi Sh13. In June 2013, Uganda too introduced a Sh7 levy.
This means any calls made by a Kenyan when roaming or directly from Kenya are subjected to the taxes.
The levies have made it more expensive to call Uganda or Rwanda compared to calling the United States or India.