New deal could slash roaming costs for Eastern Partnership countries

New deal could slash roaming costs for Eastern Partnership countries

Azerbaijan has joined an initiative to create a single roaming space between the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP).

The Eastern Partnership is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union, its member states and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

With the support of the EU4Digital initiative, relevant work is underway to create a single roaming space between the Eastern Partnership countries.

EU4Digital aims to extend the European Union’s Digital Single Market to the Eastern Partner states. Through the initiative, the EU supports a number of aims, among them the reduction of roaming tariffs.

According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate the six-country Regional Roaming Agreement is expected to be signed in the autumn and to take effect on 1 January 2022, with roaming costs set to be reduced by 87 percent by 2026. However, the agreement apparently envisages that the adoption of legislative amendments will be necessary to achieve the set goals.

In the future, according to the website, favourable roaming services might also be extended between the Europe Union and the Eastern Partnership (EaP). A commitment to explore the possibility of a common international roaming space, including the economically sustainable reduction of roaming tariffs between the Eastern Partner countries and the EU member states, was confirmed in February 2019.

The site quotes Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Elmir Valizade as saying, “The 87 percent reduction in international mobile roaming costs among Eastern Partnership countries means we will be closer to tariffs for the same services in Europe. This makes it possible to apply affordable tariffs for international roaming with EU countries in the near future.”

He added that the decrease in roaming tariffs may seem unattractive to mobile operators, but that the increase in traffic should go some way to compensating for this in revenue terms.

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