Coming out of the 32nd Council of Minister’s Meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis in October, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) is said to be looking into regional roaming. According to Dominican Minister of Telecommunications Kelver Darroux said that the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) Council of Ministers is looking closely at the possibility of eliminating roaming charges within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Making remarks at the launch ceremony of free WiFi access at the Botanical Gardens in Dominican, the Minister said “At the 32nd meeting of ECTEL in St Kitts, the ECTEL Council of Ministers, we are looking very much closely at the possibility to totally eliminate roaming charges within the OECS territories and that is very important,”
In a lecture in Basseterre St. Kitts, Prof. Hopeton Dunn Chairman, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and Director, of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and UWI Professor, highlighted the issue.
Prof. Dunn pointed out that the modern technology being used by the service providers, to switch call data around their networks has made roaming charges largely redundant.
Just weeks after his lecture the European Union has stated that the roaming charges in their 28 country monetary and political union were counter productive to the ethos of “freedom of movement” and promotion of free trade. As a result the EU has signaled the end of roaming charges from June 2017.
It should therefore come as no surprise that ECTEL since the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has similar aims and objectives of freedom of movement and improved trade as its main principles. The head of the OECS Dr. Didicus Jules has aired his strong views on the subject already, calling these charges to be dropped.
So perhaps we can expect ECTEL to open another front on which the regulator will chose to act on behalf of consumers and challenge the service providers to address the roaming issue.