Tanzania, Burundi pressured to join regional call network


The East African Community is back to its quest for lower intra-regional roaming for data, voice calls and SMS under the One Area Network. To set off the process, the Secretariat has tendered for an information, communications and technology expert to develop a framework that will lead to eliminating charges for voice calls among partner states.

A technical meeting held in Nairobi on February 25, 2023 also decided that the EAC develop the regulatory framework for mobile money for cross-border financial transactions, as Burundi and Tanzania race against time to adopt the ONA by the August 30, 2023 deadline.

The roaming framework, which provides for the harmonization of mobile calling and data charges has so far only been implemented by Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and South Sudan.

In an advert, the EAC said it is seeking to reduce the high cost of intra-regional roaming that is “detrimental to the EAC integration agenda.”

Harmonized framework

“The assignment consists of developing a harmonized regional framework for roaming and traffic exchange within the EAC to support the implementation of the common market and subsequently developing a roadmap for the implementation of the framework for data and voice calls and SMS within the EAC region,” the advertiser reads.


The Framework for Harmonized EAC Roaming Charges, which was developed and endorsed by the EAC Heads of State in February 2015, imposed price caps on roaming charges and called for the removal of surcharges on cross-border telecommunications traffic originating and terminating within the Community.

Burundi charges the highest at an average of $0.39 per minute, followed by Tanzania at $0.34, while calling Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan costs $0.06.

Tanzania decided to join the ONA late last year, beating the March 2022 deadline, when they wrote to the EAC Secretariat expressing their intention.

However, mobile network operators in Tanzania are yet to get support from their counterparts in other partner states to sign new roaming agreements.

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