Instead, the region’s second largest economy is in the process of joining the system intended to harmonise costs of communications.
“Tanzania didn’t object. It is currently reviewing its legal framework to complete the process,” said Dr Kevit Desai, chairperson of the East African Community (EAC) Coordinating Committee.
He told reporters here yesterday that Tanzanian officials have repeatedly indicated the country was about to join the regional network.
“We are only urging them to fast-track the process so as to bring down the communications costs,” he affirmed at the EAC headquarters.
Dr Desai, who is Kenya’s principal secretary for EAC Affairs ministry, said ONA would not only harmonise communications costs but also integrate data systems.
He was briefing Arusha-based journalists on the forthcoming activities in EAC after last week’s passing of the $91.7 million budget for 2021/22.
The EAC Roaming Framework or ONA was initiated in 2014 by the EAC partner states in order to bring down the communications tariffs in the six nation bloc.
The framework imposed price caps on roaming charges and called for the removal of surcharges on cross-border telecommunications traffic.
But with some states still outside the system, the cost of telephone calls within the region has remained expensive, adding the cost of doing business.
To date, Tanzania and Burundi remain the only countries yet to join the system like Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan which have integrated their telephone roaming.
Dr Desai’s remarks on the issue came only days after Tanzania assured EAC that it had concluded internal consultations on the issue.
Tanzania, EAC sources said, is currently reviewing its legal framework with the effective implementation set for September 30th this year.
During her recent visit to the EAC headquarters, the Foreign Affairs and EA Cooperation minister Liberata Mulamula promised that Tanzania would implement the framework.
The EAC Roaming Roaming Framework or ONA was meant to harmonise mobile and data roaming charges across the region.
Calls starting from and ending within the region have to be affordable, a situation business analysts believe can enhance intra-regional trade.
A meeting of the EAC Transport, Communications and Meteorology (TCM) Sectoral Committee called on Tanzania and Burundi to speed up implementation of the framework.
Burundi is reported to be engaged in internal consultations on the issue and has received data on the implementations from Uganda.
In the broadcasting sector, the meeting approved the nine key areas identified under the Draft Guidelines for Harmonisation of broadcasting content regulations.
These are local content,ownership, cross-media ownership,licensing of broadcasting services and advertising regulations.
Others are online broadcasting; Sustainability of Free To Air (FTA) Television, among others, according to an EAC dispatch.
On local content, it was agreed that broadcasting stations in Partner States use content of not less than 10 percent made by local independent producers.
The foreign content should not be more than 40 percent.On ownership, it was agreed that the majority of shares of any broadcasting entity should be owned by locals.
Countries that had not set up both a converged Ministry and a converged regulatory agency or authority to address Broadcasting and Telecommunications issues, to do so.
Burundi and Uganda to fast track the ratification process of the EAC Protocol on ICT Networks and deposit the instruments of ratification with the office of the Secretary-General.
Source: The Citizen