Safaricom’s bid for low roaming tariffs thwarted by Rwandan government

Bob Collymore CEO, Safaricom
Bob Collymore CEO, Safaricom

Kenya’s largest telecommunication company Safaricom has cancelled plans to lower all costs and roaming rates between Kenya and Rwanda. Reports CNBC Africa

Following introduction of new levies on international calling and roaming tariffs by the Rwandan government between the two countries, Safaricom decided to suspend the proposed tariffs.

Safaricom had earlier had intended for its customers visiting Rwanda to make calls to Rwanda’s networks at 10 Kenya shillings, a 60 per cent drop from the initial rate of 25 Kenya shillings per minute.

“This new developments make it impossible for operators in Kenya and Rwanda to go ahead with the planned downward revision in tariffs. We will therefore revert to the previous tariffs even as we push on with efforts to ensure that we have affordable calling rates for the region”, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore said.

This move has taken the East African Community (EAC) a step back from an initiative by the five country member state to slash cross-border call rates in the region by 2015.

“We remain committed to the effective implementation of One Network Area initiative by the East African Community Heads of State, which envisages the reduction of International and Roaming tariffs reduced to lower costs of doing business and deepen social integration in the entire region,” Collymore said.

In October 2013, the two countries reviewed their tariffs and both governments within the region introduced taxes to international calls forcing operators to revise their rates upwards.

At the moment, Kenya is the only East Africa nation that does not levy taxes on cross-border calls. The country has been pushing for a common termination tariff to be introduced.