Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Digicel Group have penned an agreement to lower the cost of roaming charges in the Caribbean by 70%, but critics say the measure should have scrapped charges altogether.
The operator groups signed St George’s Declaration to remove ‘bill-shock’ and make roaming charges more transparent across the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, reported CommsUpdate.
Grenada Prime Minister Grenada and lead CARICOM head of government with responsibility for science and technology Keith Mitchell said: “Parties to this declaration have agreed on an implementation timeframe between the second and third quarter of this year, giving consideration to the technical aspects of the implementation and the public awareness campaigns that must take place.”
Despite the substantial discount to roaming charges, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the measures did not go far enough, with the head of state vying for charges to be scrapped entirely.
She said the declaration is a “large step” in the right direction as information from connectivity must be affordable and widely available to spur Caribbean economies.
“CARICOM has negotiated with a local, regional and international industry as one, in the explicit pursuit of its single market and space. We must move on to the next steps of creating a single ICT regulatory environment in CARICOM and ensuring that the cost born by our citizens for telecoms services relate to the cost incurred by telecoms providers, and not have deemed rates of return that are outside the pockets of our citizens,” said Mottley.