" ITREALMS: GSMA lauds CelTel on free regional roaming

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

GSMA lauds CelTel on free regional roaming

Remmy Nweke just back from South Africa

PAN-African telecommunications company, CelTel International was at the just concluded Global System for Mobile (GSM-3G) conference in Cape Town, South Africa lauded for initiating free regional roaming on its network in Africa, with particular reference to the East African countries.

It would be recalled that few months ago, CelTel International opened up its networks across the East African nations, including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania.

Commending CelTel on behalf of the African GSM Association was its Director of Regulations, Mr. Gabriel Solomon, even as he also commended governments in those countries for facilitating the regional roaming as well as their respective regulators.

Speaking on the “Universal Access: Mobile Communications for all” Mr. Solomon told audience at the conference that enabling environment today are being matched readily by operators especially in Africa.

He cited what CelTel is doing in penetrating the East African nations as very encouraging and MTN in the southern Africa.

According to him, with the growth of mobile penetration, mostly on the continent, it would also increase the level of development that is attracted to a given community, especially in the rural areas.

“By connecting people, it increases people’s loyalty,” he asserted.

Mr. Solomon also said that investment must be balanced between access and services.

Despite recognising the fact that mobile operators now build four networks in order to connect the teeming unconnected in developing nations, he noted that operators now build four separate networks in order to sustain operations in rural areas.

As said by him, some of the operators keen in developing or penetrating rural communities like Celtel, builds radio, transmission, power and distribution networks.

This is because most of these factors especially the security are not in existence in most rural communities, thus any operator optimising rural connection should be commended.

He was convinced that liberalisation of international gateways would bring about low cost of running telecommunications operations in the affected regions as well as cost of ownership and sustenance for the end users.

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