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GCC telecoms authorities look at standardising Gulf roaming rates

February 18, 2014

Telecoms?authorities across the GCC?are looking at standardising a host of roaming charges across the Gulf.

The issue was discussed at the ninth meeting of the Mobile Roaming Working Group, which was hosted by the Tele­communications Regulatory Author­ity (TRA) in Abu Dhabi.

The group includes members from each of the telecommunications regulators in Gulf Cooperation Council  (GCC) nations. The TRA said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the regulation of international mobile roaming services within the Gulf.

In February 2012, regulations were implemented that established the maximum prices for outgoing calls while roaming within the GCC. This led to price reductions of up to 70 per cent.

Now the Mobile Roaming Working Group is considering whether the regulations should be extended to cover other roaming services, such as incoming voice calls, SMS, MMS and data.

A consultation paper that assesses the potential impact of expanding the scope of the existing regulations of intra-GCC mobile roaming services is being drawn up. All mobile operators within the GCC are being invited to share their views as part of the process.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, the director-general of the TRA, said: "It is vital that we carefully examine in detail the impact that further regulations will have on all groups of stakeholders, including consumers and mobile operators.

"This project is very timely. We have recently seen significant growth in the number of smartphone users in the GCC. This means that consumers now have the ability to easily access the internet while abroad.

"However, many consumers perceive the cost of accessing the internet while roaming to be very high. This is an issue that needs to carefully considered, and the meeting of the Mobile Roaming Working Group provided an important platform."


Related links: Middle East to lead the way in mobile data growth, predicts Cisco study

UAE?financial powerhouses turning phones into 'mobile wallets'

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Source: Seven Days (United Arab Emirates)

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