African Union plans for single standardized SIM card

The African Union (AU) has unveiled its plans for a single standardized SIM card for all African mobile phone operators.

According to AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Elham Ibrahim, a study on the introduction of a single African SIM card has been underway and is expected to be completed within a month. The Commission would then hold a validation workshop with the key industry players in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to agree on the technical details for the SIM card, which it hopes would reduce the cost of roaming phone services.

According to AU’s Head of Telecommunication Division, Moctar Yedaly, funds for the assessment of the technical requirements to be fulfilled before the launch of the SIM are estimated at US$100,000.

He added that the plan includes an agreement on revenue-sharing and the validity of prepaid airtime if the users of the single SIM card migrate to other operators in the various African countries. The AU is looking at the networks operated by the South African multinational MTN Group, which has operations in over 16 African countries.

The AU is also working on the registration of the domain name dot Africa, which it hopes to register. Yedely noted that a taskforce has been established to work out the modalities of registering the dot Africa internet domain.

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