GCC mulls 50% cut to roaming tariffs

Telcos unhappy with move to cut costs, to come into effect Feb 1
Mobile phone operators have opposed the planned cut in roaming charges.
Mobile phone operators have opposed the planned cut in roaming charges.

Share

Gulf telecoms operators are due to slash mobile phone roaming charges to consumers by at least 50 percent from Feb 1, an official of the Gulf Cooperation Council said Monday.

Telecoms operators attending a meeting in Riyadh earlier this month committed themselves to lower retail prices, Abdullah al-Shibli, GCC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, said in a statement.

The statement did not give details of the new rates but said the decision would “reduce rates of international roaming between the GCC countries by more than 50% from current prices".

The names of the telecoms operators impacted by the ruling were not released.

Gulf telecom regulators have long campaigned for a reduction in roaming charges in a bid to bring costs in line with those seen in developed markets.

Analysts said authorities had previously tried to implement a MENA-wide rate reduction scheme, but this had failed in the face of diverging regional agendas.

“About three or four years ago there was an attempt to regulate roaming tariffs at an Arab world level,” said Matthew Reed, a telecoms analyst with consultancy Informa. “This was inspired by the EU, where there has been various interventions on roaming. But although the plan was endorsed, it was no enforced. There wasn’t the political will.”

Continued on next page

The GCC cuts, led by Bahrain’s mobile phone regulator, were regarded as the next best option, he said. To date, two cuts have been agreed, despite opposition from phone operators who are facing declining profits in their domestic markets.

“The operators are actually not very happy about this,” said Reed. “They have been trying to lobby against it. Regulators try and persuade operators by saying that when cuts are introduced the usage will go up, but operators argue that the revenues are important to help them invest, and that usage doesn’t go up with lower rates.

“There is a bit of a battle going on between the regulators and the operators.”

*With agencies

Editor's Choice

Deception technologies, AI and Robo Hunters to  displace legacy cybersecurity solutions
IoT is rapidly expanding the attack surface of the digital enterprise and exposing it to enhanced risk levels not seen before. Deception technologies, artificial intelligence, Robo-hunters, are solutions for tomorrow's enterprise, Mechelle Buys Du Plessis, MD – UAE, Dimension Data.
The robots are coming: Impact of AI on executive search
As the technology industry’s elite struggle to agree on the potential impact of AI and a raft of people queuing up to advise on the potential disruption it will cause, this article by John Curtis-Oliver, Partner at Boyden studies the potential impact on the executive hiring and the executive search industry.
#MWC2018: Spotlight shines on 5G, IoT and AR
Hard to predict what will ‘turn around the fate’ of telecom operators, but there is potential for those who can play the role of enabling platform for new digital services and players, as well as for new features and capabilities across traditional industries, says Luis Cirne, partner, communications, media and technology (CMT) practice at Oliver Wyman

Most popular

Don't Miss a Story

You may also like

STC collaborates with ConsenSys to leverage blockchain for the Kingdom
The Saudi incumbent is working on developing innovative solutions for the government sector using blockchain technologies and aims to lead in offering blockchain application in Saudi market.
TRA UAE develops the roadmap of its 2018 business and initiatives
H.E. Al Mansoori delivered a general speech addressing six topics including international developments, TRA’s role in coming phases, in addition to issues such as the 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and others.
Centrify study discovers the root cause behind weakening cybersecurity
62 percent of CEOs inaccurately cite malware as the primary threat to cybersecurity; 24 percent are not even aware they have experienced a breach
McAfee study reveals poor visibility as the greatest challenge to cloud adoption
Sixty-nine percent organisations trust the public cloud to keep their sensitive data secure. One-in-four organisations has experienced data theft from the public cloud.