The  St. Kitts and Nevis National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) have begun investigating options for reduced roaming charges among the Eastern Caribbean states. 

Concerns for the increasingly high fees for mobile roaming within the region have prompted discussions addressing the issue, with the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) engaging in consultations with the public. 

Mr. Ervin Williams, director of the NTRC, said there has been ongoing discussions on the economic, immigration and political single space, with questions being asked about a single space for telecommunications. 

“As it is now, as it relates to the [new Electronic Communications Bill], one of th proposals that we are looking at coming out of this and into proper regulations for roaming in the ECTEL member states within the OECS is to have what we call flat rate roaming. That is the first approach,” Mr. Williams said during a raid interview last week. 

“That means if you are paying 15 cents a minute home in St. Kitts and Nevis when you go to St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica or any one of those ECTEL members states, that minute will still cost you 15 cents as opposed to 45 cents if you’re in St. Lucia.”

This approach to a telecommunications single space is bing modelled off the European Union’s approach.

In June 2017, the EU ended all roaming charges for Europeans travelling within EU countries. The European Commission has been working towards ending roaming charges within the EU since 2007. It first began with a cap on roaming charges in 2007 (the Eurotariff). This cap was gradually reduced, as were roaming prices, over the proceeding ten years. 

Mr. Williams has said ECTEL is working diligently to ensure progress is made to reduce the costs associated with mobile roaming in the region, as it is a sticking point for all council members of ECTEL as well as heads of state throughout the region.