The basic principles of a Regional Roaming Agreement for the Eastern Partnership countries have been agreed at the Roaming Stakeholder Meeting of the Network of Eastern Partnership Regulators for Electronic Communications (EaPeReg) held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 12 November. The agreement is expected to be signed by the end of 2020.
The Roaming Stakeholder Meeting is a continuous initiative of the Roaming Expert Working Group (REWG) of EaPeReg, chaired by the representatives of the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization of Ukraine and the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania (RRT). The REWG working group is responsible for coordination of the implementation of the initiative introduced by Ukraine in 2015 to develop a common roaming space for the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries.
During the meeting in Vilnius, working group members held talks with the relevant ministries of the Eastern Partnership and agreed on the basic principles of the Regional Roaming Agreement (RRA) to be signed among the six EaP countries. The aim of this RRA is the harmonisation and reduction of roaming prices between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Following the meeting, the RRA will be drafted, followed by national public consultations with operators and competent authorities. The RRA is expected to be signed by the end of 2020.
Another significant stage, important in a broader context of the social and economic integration of the EaP countries with the EU, is to develop a common roaming space between EaP countries and EU Member States. At the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Digital Economy of the Eastern Partnership countries on February 28, 2019 in Bucharest, the first step towards this important goal was made – the stakeholders agreed to launch discussions on the implementation of the initiative to reduce the roaming tariffs among EaP and EU regions, and to initiate a feasibility study.
In order to present this ambitious goal on a broader political level, after the Stakeholder Roaming Meeting, a Special Briefing Session was held for the Ambassadors of EaP countries and EU Member States. Information regarding the current state and progress of signing the RRA between the six EaP countries was presented to participants of the session – the ambassadors and representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Germany. Participants were also briefed on the next stage of the initiative, to develop a common roaming space between EaP countries and EU Member States.
The Roaming Stakeholders Meeting was organized by the RRT in cooperation with the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization of Ukraine and the European Commission.