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Safaricom Drops Mobile Roaming Charges To Flat Rate Of Kes. 10 Per Minute In Uganda

I wrote a blog post here back in November 2013 on Safaricom’s East Africa roaming bundles that aimed to reduce the cost of mobile roaming charges substantially in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda for their travelling subscribers from Kenya. The savings, as you will note in that blog post, were quite substantial given how expensive it would normally cost ‘out of bundle’. However, today’s announcement from Safaricom makes those savings pale in comparison to what they are now offering in Uganda for their mobile roaming subscribers.

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In a nutshell, it will now cost only Kes. 10.00 for Safaricom mobile subscribers to roam in Uganda on a standard basis. This means no need for special roaming bundles. This massive price reduction has only been made possible via the One Area Network (OAN) initiative that was formalised late last year between the East African Communities’ member countries’ mobile networks. OAN became possible through agreements secured with MTN Uganda, UTL Uganda, Airtel Uganda and Orange Uganda. Safaricom subscribers will also receive calls for free while roaming in Uganda as well as enjoy a flat rate of Kes. 10.00 for calls between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Burundi, Tanzania, Southern Sudan are expected to follow in the near term. Previously, rates for Safaricom roaming calls in Uganda were as high as Kes. 215.00 per minute so this is a HUGE cost saving whichever way you look at it.

I am particularly enthused by this development from Safaricom since hitherto its actually been more expensive to make calls between East African countries when roaming (or not) compared to say calling South Africa, Europe or North America. It was simply quite absurd that regional East African communications were more expensive as a result of massive taxation between East African countries (yes, they were coining it big time!). Indeed, Safaricom has noted that roaming price and international calling rates reductions effected in late 2014 have seen costs go down as high as 60% for their subscribers. In addition, calls originating from Safaricom subscribers while roaming in Rwanda increasing by 85%, while calls received by Safaricom subscribers roaming in Rwanda increased by 101%.

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