Liberia and Ghana Discuss Free Roaming Agreement to Lower Calling Costs

Telecommunications tower

The telecommunications regulatory bodies of Liberia and Ghana have initiated discussions on establishing free roaming between the two nations. As reported by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), this initiative marks the initial step towards creating a system where mobile phone users in both countries will be charged local rates during their visits. Should the countries come to an agreement, the roaming arrangement will require carriers to develop commercial solutions, enabling the cost-effective implementation of these agreements in accordance with ECOWAS regulations.

In 2020, the LTA issued an order urging the country’s mobile network operators to implement the ECOWAS regulations. However, it has faced setbacks due to slow activation and a lack of momentum in initiating bilateral engagements.

ECOWAS issued roaming regulations within the community’s public mobile communication networks to standardize roaming activities in 2017.

The challenges faced over time that have slowed implementation include the lack of direct links between telecom operators, high call termination rates, and fraud.

Acknowledging this development, Angela Cassell Bush, Acting International Gateway Systems Commissioner, stated that Liberia anticipates further engagements and discussions with other ECOWAS member countries to collaborate on zero-cost roaming.

A report indicates that most subscribers making calls between Liberia and Ghana depend on Internet-based apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram. These apps necessitate owning a smartphone and a data plan. Additionally, travelers between the two countries must acquire a local SIM card. With the local SIM, they can either purchase voice credits for calls or activate data for internet calls using their original phone number.

In line with ECOWAS regulations, many African nations have tried to implement free roaming. During an interview with Aliyu Yusuf Aboki, the Executive Secretary of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), he disclosed that 13 ECOWAS member states have amended their telecom legislation to eliminate roaming surcharges.

In April 2024, Ghana and Benin agreed to implement free roaming to lower communication costs for citizens traveling between the two countries. That same month, Niger and Togo announced their plans to sign a partnership agreement for bilateral free roaming.

In October 2023, Benin and Togo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable free international mobile network roaming between the two countries.



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