To implement the « free rooming » project, Togo signed an agreement with Senegal on January 3, in Dakar to significantly reduce the roaming cost. Togo and Senegal follow the lead of seven other ECOWAS member countries.
Togo and Senegal have just signed an agreement to allow the population of West African countries travelling in the sub-region to call at a rate of a local call. It is a crucial step in the implementation of the Abidjan Agreement on free rooming.
« Free rooming will significantly reduce the communication costs in ECOWAS member countries. Il will allow travelling people to make calls as if they were in their own countries », said Cina Lawson, the Minister of Posts and Digital Economy of Togo.
The « one-area network »
The agreement, endorsed by Abdoul Karim Sall, Director General of the Telecommunications and Posts Regulation Authority (ARTP), makes it the 7th country to offer such a service after Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.
« Free movement of telecommunications must be implemented through the creation of what is commonly called the « one-area network » allowing people to move within the sub-region with their mobile phones without paying additional rooming fees. Giving or receiving a call looks like they are in their own countries »
This action is in line with the African Union member countries’ desire to implement the common market integration process in the area of telecommunications and the necessity for facilitating the population’s mobility.
As mentioned by ARTP top management, the removal of additional costs pertaining to calls and messages throughout ECOWAS area would wave « the communication cost barriers » between these countries, « increase telecommunication operations » and thus « boost trade in the sub-region »
Common goal: March 2017
“The new agreement between Togo and Senegal is no longer an isolated action “. A meeting previously held in Abidjan in December 2016 bringing together National Regulation Authorities from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Mali, and Burkina Faso, resulted in the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of free rooming by March 31, 2017 the latest.
According to the signing of this MoU, the signatory countries must comply with some principles such as the validation of the MoU by the Minister in charge of Telecommunications of each country, the share of tariff and technical information between regulation Authorities, the implementation of free call reception for the users and the billing of travelling subscribers’ call at the local rate in the visited country’s network.
In addition to these conditions, the countries must have a reliable mobile phone subscriber identification system to counter fraud effectively through a national technical committee to be set up in each country and managed by a regulation Authority made up of all mobile phone operators, under the supervision of the Ministry in charge of telecommunications.