June 14, 2012 (LBO) – South Asians continue to pay more for their international roaming call charges when they travel within the region, despite a pledge in 2008 by regional heads to trim costs, a think-tank said. A Maldivian roaming in Bangladesh will pay 345 times more for a local call, the study showed.
Sri Lanka, which liberalised telecommunications over a decade, did not fair too well. Sri Lankans roaming in Bhutan pay 103 times more, while roaming in Afghanistan will cost 115 times more.
In the run-up to the 2008 SAARC heads of state meeting in Colombo, LIRNEasia urged South Asian leaders to slash telecom tariffs in their countries to promote inter-regional trade.
The think-tank’s suggestion was taken seriously, and incorporated in the final Colombo declaration.
“The Heads of State or Government observed that an effective and economical regional telecommunication regime is an essential factor of connectivity, encouraging the growth of people-centric partnerships. They stressed the need for the Member States to endeavour to move towards a uniformly applicable low tariff, for international direct dial calls within the regio