The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will cut telecom roaming charges for making and receiving calls and sending text messages within the six-nation bloc by an average of 40 percent from April 1, an official said via state media on Thursday.
Last June, GCC members Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced the GCC would steadily reduce charges from April but did not specify by how much.
At that time, the bloc said call and text message tariffs would be steadily reduced over three years and data charges over five years.
Thursday’s statement on the websites of the state news agencies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE quoting Abdullah Bin Juma Al Shibli, GCC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, made no mention of data tariff reductions.
The cuts are part of plans for greater economic integration among GCC states, the statement said, predicting they would enable users to save $1.14 billion. It did not specify over what timeframe.
Some Gulf telecom companies have operations in other GCC countries. Saudi Telecom Co controls operators in Kuwait and Bahrain, Kuwait’s Zain is also present in Bahrain and Saudi and Qatar’s Ooredoo has units in Kuwait and Oman.