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Tanzania joins East Africa’s One Network Area

Tanzania has become the latest country to join the One Network Area initiative aimed at lowering the cost of international calls in East Africa.

According to One Network Area, citizens of East African Community (EAC) member states affiliated to the network will be able to communicate more at lower cost. It also aims to boost and enhance cross-border trade and travel.

Confirming Tanzania’s plans to join One Network Area, Stephen Mbundi, the permanent secretary of the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, revealed the country’s official communication with the EAC secretariat.

In the message, Mbundi notified the EAC that “the United Republic of Tanzania has concluded consultations and is now ready to begin the process for the implementation of the EAC roaming framework.

Pressure on Tanzania to join the network peaked at the June 2019 meeting of the EAC's Transport, Communications and Meteorology Sector Council held in Kampala, Uganda, where Tanzania was given a deadline of 31 March 2021 to complete its analysis on the implementation of One Network Area.

The East Africa region is also hoping the One Network Area will support and facilitate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) effect from January 2021.

The project was officially launched in January 2015 and to date Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have implemented international mobile roaming tariffs directed by the initiative.

With Tanzania having now signed, the EAC will likely shift its attention to Burundi.

“It shows that despite price reductions, and the emergence of a range of alternative technologies and calling solutions, prices are still high, and actions are still being taken to make this service affordable to all consumers,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Telecommunication Development Bureau.

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