Safaricom On It’s Way To Hacking Cheap Roaming In East Africa With One Network Area Agreement

Voice calling

Safaricom last week made an announcement that the Kenyan telco had lowered the costs of roaming for it’s subscribers in Rwanda by 60% starting October 2014. This was to take the costs of roaming to Kshs 10 down from Kshs 25 for calls back to Kenya. Calls to Rwandan networks was to also go down to Kshs 10 down from Kshs 17.50 per minute.

This is as a result of an agreement by the heads of states of the East African Community countries dubbed “One Network”. The agreement is scheduled to cmmence from 2015, but Safaricom seems to have absorbed that and got their pricing going early.

This was short lived as Safaricom recalled that message the same week following a directive by Rwanda President Kagame after introduction of tax on international calling between Kenya and Rwanda by the East African country. This was not going to be exactly a setback but a slow down as a meeting between cabinet ministers corrected the stand for the better on 3rd of October.

Safaricom can proudly announce that the reduced rates are back on track after the meeting between the representatives from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. This also comes with new extras as Uganda and South Sudan are also said to follow suit with the reduced rates, at least for Safaricom roaming. This was also confirmed by Safaricom Head of Corporate Affairs Nzioka Waita on Twitter.

The meeting in Kampala finalized the technical, regulatory and policy issues around the “One Network Area” and saw directives issued to operators in these countries to conclude negotiations for price harmonization. This will follow a launch on 8th of October when the “One Network Area” will be launched.

This agreement is aimed at improving socio-economic growth in the region and we should expect announcements to that regard from Safaricom about Uganda and South Sudan quite soon.