[Sierra Leone] NATCOM signs free roaming agreement with Guinea, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire
The Director-General of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Maxwell Massaquoi, has signed an MOU with telecommunications regulatory heads from Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast aimed at fostering collaboration in implementing the One Area Network work initiative.
Speaking on the importance of the One Area Network initiative, Maxwell Massaquoi said when the free roaming plan would have been fully implemented, mobile phone users visiting countries that are signatories to the agreement would be able to use their local numbers to make and receive calls with no extra charges being levied on them by operators.
“I can tell you empathically that we want to be part of the one are network as it is between Guinea and Ivory Coast we believe that with such facility, cross border trade is going to increase between our respective nations” he averred.
The CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Guinea (ARPT), Antigou Cherif described the one area network initiative as a fulfillment of the African unification dream promulgated by past leaders of the continent.
The Executive Chairman of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTP), Ivan Gartor Brown said his institution had forged good working ties with the management of NATCOM. Brown said his country would be extremely committed in ensuring that the objectives set out in the MOU are realized.
Sierra Lone, Guinea Liberia and Ivory Coast have identified focal persons to expedite the process and a ninety-day timeline agreed upon for the implementation of the initiative.
As the idea of regional integration resonates across ECOWAS member countries, telecoms regulatory bodies are becoming increasingly interested in developing partnerships to improve their domestic operations as well as ensuring their citizens enjoy the unique experiencing of roaming without exorbitant service charges being levied upon them.
NATCOM, under the current management, has improved multilateral ties not just with regulators in the ECOWAS block, but also with a host of regulatory bodies in the Eastern African region such as Ugandan Communications Authority and CCK of Kenya.
The decision to have an MOU on cross- border frequencies coordination, Sim Box fraud and One Area Network was highly appreciated by the general membership of West Africa Telecommunications Regulators General Assembly meeting, WATRA, who witnessed the signing.