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EAC telco regulators draft rules to cut across the region

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Inconsistency in policies means unregistered SIM cards
Inconsistency in policies means unregistered SIM cards that are denied service in one country usually find their way into the networks of neighbouring countries. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya is pushing for the harmonisation of East Africa Community’s (EAC) ICT regulations to ease responses to challenges such as the circulation of counterfeit devices and tariff overlaps for border residents.

The region’s communications regulators will submit the petition to anchor their umbrella body, East Africa Communications Organisation, within the EAC framework this December and await its endorsement when the heads of state meet in April next year. If approved, member states will be required to adhere to policies channeled through the body.

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and are hard to track down when misused for criminal purposes.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) also said that despite harmonising crossborder telecommunication signals on a handshake agreement, individual telcos continue to operate beyond their license parameters within national boundaries costing residents high roaming charges.

“If the East African countries can make a universal decision that can be adhered to by every state, then it will be possible for us to also control the service providers in other jurisdictions,” said CA Director General Francis Wangusi.

The harmonisation is also expected to further ease access to the large market of 168 million people for investors. 80 per cent of East African residents have access to mobile voice services, according to the Ministry of ICT. In 2017 Kenya’s ICT sector expanded by 11 per cent compared to 9.7 per cent in 2016. This growth was principally driven by improved performance in the telecommunications sub-sector, which rose by 12.7 per cent in 2017.

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