Mobile roaming rates are being slashed across GCC states by an average of 40%.

The cuts will come into effect from April 1 according to a senior GCC official. The reduced roaming rates will impact on voice calls, outgoing SMS and mobile data services.

“An average 40% cut will be in effect in the first phase of new reduction rates. Incoming SMS application will remain free,” said Abdullah bin Juma Al Shibli, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs of the Secretariat of the GCC.

He added that mobile phone users in the GCC could end up saving US$1.13 billion, which would boost social welfare by US$404 million.

“A GCC technical team will monitor these prices regularly and submit recommendations to the GCC Ministerial Committee Ministerial Committee for Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology,” he said.

“A mechanism has been set up to gather data on a regular basis to update decision-makers on changes taking place in the roaming services market and ensure efficient control.”