| Zee Yusri |
CELLPHONE subscribers in Brunei and Singapore will soon enjoy more economical roaming rates effective January 1, 2015.
Mobile phone users will get rate reductions of up to 10 per cent for voice calls and up to 50 per cent for SMS, video calls and data, while travelling to either country.
This was announced during the signing of the Singapore-Brunei Darussalam International Mobile Roaming Rates arrangement between the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity Ministerial Meeting held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
The deal was signed by Hj Yahkup bin Hj Menudin, Chief Executive of AITI and Leong Keng Thai, Director-General (Telecoms & Post) of IDA, and the ceremony was witnessed by Minister of Communications Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar and Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
AITI and IDA are working together with mobile operators in the two countries to reduce the roaming rates. The actual percentage diminution on retail rates would differ depending on the mobile service provider.
This latest move follows an earlier commitment made by Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim in June 2012 on discovering means to lessen the roaming rates for visitors to both countries. The agreement marks another milestone for Asean which announced its commitment to work towards reducing mobile roaming rates at the 17th Asean Telecommunications Regulators’ Council (ATRC) in 2011.
Discussions on rate reductions between Brunei and Singapore were initiated in light of the growing trend of global data consumption.
The deal signed yesterday is the first such agreement in the region to include rate reductions for roaming mobile data and also the first roaming arrangement that will be appraised under the Asean Framework Agreement for Services (AFAS).
The AFAS, signed in 1995, intends to boost teamwork in services between Asean member states in order to enrich the proficiency and effectiveness of their service providers and further develop, strengthen and liberalise based on the General Agreement on Trade in Services, a treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that entered into force in January 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations. The treaty was created to extend the multi-lateral trading system to service sector.
The agreement will help tackle the shifting mobile needs of its people, encourage better communication links between Brunei and Singapore and underpin the already robust bilateral ties.