Following the launch and implementation of the One area network in East African, businesses, ordinary citizens and telecom companies have all benefited.
Telecom companies saw the number of subscribers increase by almost 300 times and their revenues went up by 25 percent. To the subscribers, cross border calling rates dropped by 50 percent and everybody gained. The move was basically a win-win for all the stakeholders.
It is now time that the telecom companies seriously consider a similar move for data roaming. The future is in data and it is unfortunate that when people are roaming they turn-off their data and rely only on free wifi to get online with their mobile phones.
The One Area Network would probably have not been possible without the push from the Heads of State from East African countries. The Telecoms should not wait for the Heads of State to do the same when it comes to data. Access to the internet should not be a privilege for the few who can afford but a necessity for doing business and generally improving the lives of the East African citizens.
By reducing data roaming fees, the telecom companies will have more subscribers and increase in revenues. But above all, they will enable their subscribers tap into the full potential that the internet has to offer wherever they may be.