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'CONNECTIVITY TO IMPROVE'

MEA telecom giants study roaming rate cut

London, May 26, 2014

Senior leaders from nine major mobile operator groups, accounting for over half a billion mobile connections across 48 countries in the Middle East and Africa, are individually undertaking initiatives designed to reduce the cost of roaming for consumers across both regions.

This was announced by Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), an association of mobile operators and related companies devoted to supporting the standardising, deployment and promotion of the GSM mobile telephone system.

The senior leaders from the nine mobile operator groups supporting these initiatives are: Christian de Faria, the CEO Africa, Bharti Airtel; Ahmad Julfar, Group CEO, Etisalat Group; Arthur Bastings, EVP Africa, Millicom; Sifiso Dabengwa, the CEO and president, MTN Group; Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo Group; Marc Rennard, the senior executive VP (Africa, Middle East and Asia) Orange; Abdulaziz A. Alsugair, the chairman and managing director, STC Group;     Serpil Timuray, the CEO of Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, Vodafone Group and Scott Gegenheimer, the CEO of Zain Group.

The nine operator groups are committed to a range of roaming initiatives that, in addition to addressing pricing, will improve regional connectivity and mobility by increasing roaming footprints to provide greater customer choice, with a particular focus on improving routes for pre-paid customers, said GSMA in its statement.

These combined efforts will enable consumers in Africa and the Middle East to use their mobile phones with greater confidence and predictability whilst travelling, it added.

“International and regional mobility is a critical factor in increasing trade and cross-border economic cooperation, which is a government priority across Africa and the Middle East,” remarked Anne Bouverot, the director general of GSMA.

“The initiatives of these nine operators are intended to serve to increase connectivity and make mobile more affordable for subscribers throughout these regions, encouraging greater adoption and usage of mobile services and enabling important socio-economic benefits,” she added.

As part of their work, the operators will look at a range of factors that affect roaming prices, with the aim of improving technical efficiencies and reducing costs.

GSMA research has shown emerging markets, including many countries in MEA region are now the major engines of mobile connection and subscriber growth.

The rapidly increasing pace of mobile adoption has delivered huge economic benefits for the regions, with the mobile industry directly contributing $60 billion to the sub-Saharan African economy, or six per cent of GDP and $132 billion to the economies of the Arab States, or approximately 5.5 per cent of total GDP.

"Mobile is focused on connecting the billions of unconnected around the world, providing access to critical communications, information and services and offering new economic opportunities," remarked Bouverot.

"Market dynamics are delivering more affordable roaming prices and better value for consumers. Within both regions this will be driven in particular by the move from voice to more price elastic data usage," she added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Mobile | Middle East | Telecom | Africa | roaming |

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