Ghana-Benin roaming agreement due to take effect in July

Ghana-Benin roaming agreement due to take effect in July

In a deal announced last week on its website by Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA), the NCA and the Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et de la Poste (ARCEP) of Benin say they have signed a bilateral roaming service agreement.

The agreement was apparently signed in late March in Benin but has only been widely reported in recent days. In addition it is not likely to be become a reality before July.

That said, this could be  another important stage in the steady, if slow, progress towards pan-African roaming. Indeed, we reported last October that Benin and Togo had signed an MoU enabling free international mobile network roaming between the two countries.

The Benin-Togo agreement adheres to roaming regulations set out by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Benin-Ghana agreement is also for the implementation of the regulation on roaming on mobile communications networks within the ECOWAS region. The idea is that the various operators in Ghana and Benin will collaborate on the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Free Roaming Initiative.

Executive Secretary of ARCEP, Dr Hervé Coovi Guedegbe, has  indicated Benin’s commitment to collaborate with the NCA and other Member States to facilitate a smooth implementation of the ECOWAS Free Roaming services in the sub-region.

However, in a reminder of how much still needs to be done, the Chairman of the Board of ARCEP, Mr Flavien Bachabi, has urged other ECOWAS members to speed up efforts in ensuring the realisation of the initiative proposed by the ECOWAS Ministers of Telecommunications, ICT, Digitalisation and Posts during their meeting in Niger in 2016.

The Ghana-Benin agreement is still a work in progress, however. In the weeks and, we assume, months to come, operators from both countries will work together to address all outstanding issues to allow for what the NCA calls "activation and testing of the agreed roaming services in both countries" prior to the launch of the service in July 2024 in Accra.


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