Making roaming calls from GCC countries will become cheaper from April next year.
Qatar’s Communication Regulatory Authority (CRA) announced preparations to reduce roaming charges in the GCC region from next April. The new regulation agreed with neighbouring countries will reduce rates for calls, text messaging and data services throughout the GCC countries, even for customers who only need limited access to roaming services.
The reduction in roaming charges is a continuation of the collaboration and cooperation between the GCC regulators, under the auspices of the GCC General Secretariat.
The first roaming regulation was issued in June 2010 and took full effect in February 2012. It covered voice calls but excluded other roaming services such as mobile data and SMS.
To implement this decision, CRA is announcing the specific price ceilings for voice calls, SMS services and mobile data services. The service providers are free to set prices below these regulatory caps. Some of the current local retail charges for voice calls are lower than the GCC price ceilings. Additionally there are promotions such as roaming “Passport” packages, which are useful for specific consumer roaming needs.
Qatari Riyal 1,00 = around about €0,23, $0,27
The ceiling on local voice calls within the visited country will be QR0.95 per minute instead of QR1 (€0,23, $0,27). The ceiling on voice calls to other GCC countries (including home country) will be QR2.33 per minute. For receiving voice calls, the price ceiling will be QR1.077 instead of QR1.277, while for sending (SMS), it will be QR0.292 per SMS. Price ceiling for mobile data will be QR4.74/mb.
The meeting decided to reduce roaming charges gradually over three years for voice calls and SMS services and for mobile data services over five years.
Service providers are free to set prices below these regulatory caps, said CRA.
“We are committed to promoting market competition and bringing additional benefits to consumers” said Mohammed Ali Al Mannai, President, CRA. “The initiative is in line with our mandate to boost affordable state-of-the-art and innovative technology and telecommunications services in Qatar.” he added.
The GCC is the Gulf Cooperation Council and its countries are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Sources: The Peninsula Qatar