NATCOM Spearheads One Area Network
As part of their determination to ensure that consumers within the Mano River Union (MRU) countries benefit immensely from telecommunications service, the country’s regulatory body, the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has engaged other telecom regulators across West Africa in a three day international conference in Conakry, Guinea.
According to the NATCOM Chairman, Momoh Konte (in photo), the objective is to ensure one area network operates within MRU countries. He said the Conakry meeting brought together all four MRU member countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast, including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo to sign an agreement to let the one area network come into force. This means that calls to and from all four member countries will be charged as local calls when it comes into operation.
He told the New Vision last night that prices between Sierra Leone and Guinea are too high and that they have agreed to do two things-reducing cost among MRU countries so that consumers will benefit,adding that NATCOM is leading the campaign.
He said the traffic between the MRU countries is too heavy and the just concluded four days conference in Conakry took into consideration the per capita income of the people who are doing trade in these countries.
He said there is going to be an improved infrastructure in the form of submarine cable network which, he noted, will also reduce the cost of communication.
Allieu Bah of the West African Regional Infrastructure Programme pointed out that ever since the cable came from France to West Africa, people can now use mobile phones and send SMS without much difficulties.
He stressed the need for prices to come down to ensure the consumers benefit. Mr. Bah expressed the hope that the project will be extended beyond the MRU basin to serve other countries.
The Executive Director of West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Association, Mohamed Lamin expressed optimism that other countries in West Africa will immensely benefit from this project in the future.
He lauded the NATCOM Chairman for what he described as a laudable initiative that will benefit over ten million people.
He said by July this year the free roaming within the West African countries at the same cost is expected to start without extra charges, which, he noted, will definitely bring a big relief to consumers.
Speaker after speaker commended the NATCOM Chairman for spearheading this laudable initiative.
Meanwhile it is understood that the new cable funded by individual member countries will be costing around one hundred million United States dollars (US$100M).
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