The implementation of East Africa's single mobile network, expected to reduce telecom costs across the region, is in the final stages, officials said on Monday.
Francis Wangusi, director-general of Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), told Xinhua in Nairobi that the need for regional integration as well as cheaper communication is behind the push for lower cost of mobile calls across the region.
"So far four out of six countries have already removed international tariffs for cross-border calls," Wangusi said.
"The other remaining nations have shown strong commitment to join the initiative."
Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda are part of the "East Africa One Area Network" that aims to treat all cross-border calls as domestic ones while Tanzania and Burundi are in the process of joining.
Wangusi said once the single network is operational, it'll create a huge market for existing telecom players in the region because they will have access to a large pool of clients at no additional cost.
He said the "one area network" will be a building bloc for the proposed Smart Africa Initiative, aimed at creating a single digital market in Africa.
Wangusi noted that during the Smart Africa Initiative's Steering Committee meeting held in February in Ethiopia, member states were asked to adopt and implement the regulation of the One Africa Network (ONA) Africa Single Network about Free Roaming and International Communications.
He said the Executive Board of the committee has contracted a technical provider to set up the traffic exchange and financial settlement platform to monitor the installation of regional Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) nodes, which are expected to be operational by July 2018.
This platform will enable African countries to maintain their sovereignty and oversee their own traffic; encourage telecommunications services exchanges between African countries; and also improve the quality of service of communications in Africa, Wangusi said.