The telecoms ministers of the Western Balkans have reached the agreement in Belgrade today concerning the gradual removal of all roaming charges in reason.
Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will write off charges for phone calls, messages and gigabytes for the first time.
The roaming agreement
The agreement - as reported by the Kosovar minister for economic development, Valdrin Lluka, at BIRN - will come into force starting next July 1 with reduced rates. From 1 July 2021, on the other hand, all roaming charges will be removed as part of the 'Roaming Like At Home' program.
From next July 1st calls will cost 19 cents per minute, messages will cost 6 cents each while a megabyte of internet will cost 2.5 cents. Rates far reduced compared to the current ones, for example, the 2.5 euros per minute for calls.
Previous efforts to reach an agreement on roaming tariffs had affected only a few countries, not the entire region, and were complicated by relations between Serbia and Kosovo. However, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro reached an agreement in the 2014, reducing their roaming rates by almost 80%.
"We have an agreement for four countries, but if we want to include the entire Western Balkan region we must also include Kosovo and Albania. Obviously there is a political connotation here regarding the status of Kosovo. ”- stated Serbia's telecommunications minister, Rasim Ljajic, in November of the 2018.
In this sense, already in May last year, the European Union had allocated 30 million euros during the Sofia summit as part of the digital agenda for the Western Balkans, to push the region's economy towards digitalization.
Furthermore, the Sofia summit between the EU and the Western Balkans has promised concrete progress in strengthening cooperation in the region, which also includes the reduction of roaming charges between EU countries and those of the Western Balkans.
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