Feb 25, 2022 News
…as Digicel, Cable and Wireless ink St George’s Declaration
Kaieteur News – Digicel and Cable and Wireless Communications on Wednesday inked the Declaration of St George’s, Towards the Reduction of Intra CARICOM Roaming Charges that will pave the way for reduced fees paid when travelling between CARICOM countries
Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, and Lead CARICOM Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology Kieran Mulvey, Director of Government Affairs, Digicel Group and Kurleigh Prescod, Vice President South Caribbean, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) were signatories to the Declaration.
The Declaration is expected to result in the reduction of intra-CARICOM roaming charges and facilitate the provision of seamless mobile (cellular) services, including voice, SMS text and data.
According to a public missive released by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, “CARICOM residents will now roam in CARICOM States at significantly reduced cost, as much as 70 percent saving by one estimate.”
The union said too that “importantly, as mentioned by the Digicel and Cable and Wireless’ representatives, citizens’ charges will be predictable and transparent thus resulting in the elimination of severe bill shock that has been experienced in the past.”
According to Prime Minister Mitchell, “as historic as today’s signing is, we still have some critical milestones ahead of us. Ideally, Caribbean leaders want to see the full elimination of roaming charges within the Caribbean Community and we will continue to push for this in the interest of our Caribbean people,”
CARICOM Citizens will start enjoying the benefits of the reduction of roaming charges as early as the second quarter of this year.
According to Prime Minister Mitchell, “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.
It was noted that CARICOM Heads of Government have long recognised that the ability to roam between the CARICOM States at reasonable costs is an essential characteristic in promoting greater connectivity within the CARICOM Single ICT Space and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, which they are seeking to put in place.
As such, finalising the agreement as a matter of urgency with the regional operators was a priority objective of the Heads.
Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, who also attended the signing virtually said, “this a large step but we are short of our destination to eliminate roaming completely. Data bridges are absolutely critical and more so, as a result of the pandemic, we need to keep connectivity going. Data, information and connectivity must be cheap, must be available and must be fast.”
According to Prime Minister Mottley, “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 telcoms providers, and not have deemed rates of return that are outside the pockets of our citizens.”
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