MTN Rwanda has decided to scrap cross-border roaming charges for its customers when they use the service in Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia.
According to company officials, the decision follows complaints from its subscribers that the receiving fee of Rwf60 per minute was too high.
The operator introduced the fee, last year, saying it wanted to trim the swelling bill for call termination charges which it pays to international operators with which they have roaming partnerships. However, regional operators like Airtel, MTN Uganda and UTL don’t charge roaming fees. .
“We decided to drop the fee after long negotiations with our sister companies and agreed on the amount we will be charging each other,” MTN’s Public Relations Officer, Bosco Ssendahangarwa told Business Times in a phone interview yesterday.
The new development means MTN subscribers will now be able to move freely across these countries making calls and sending SMS at local rates and receive incoming calls free of charge.
In a statement sent to Business Times, MTN’s CEO, Khaled Mikkawi said MTN has spent the past few months negotiating in response to their customers’ requests to slash roaming costs.
The re-introduction of ‘MTN One World’ seamless roaming in these countries is just the beginning of our determination to offer the same in all markets in which we operate and in strategic markets important to our region.
Ssendahangarwa said that roaming fees with other countries and other East Africa member states will remain the same.
Customers roaming within the five countries, will be able to top up their prepaid lines with locally bought airtime cards which can be bought at any of MTN’s points of sale.
After introducing the charges, countries of Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Belgium, Sudan, Swaziland and Botswana, were among the affected.
“For prepaid customers the service is automatically activated upon crossing into any one of the MTN networks, with no prior registration required or sign up fee charged,” the statement said.