Roaming rates in Gulf Cooperation Council countries will be slashed by an average of 40 percent starting April 1.


"An average 40 percent cut will be in effect in the first phase of new reduction rates. Incoming SMS application will remain free," Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs of the Secretariat of the GCC Abdullah bin Juma Al Shibli said, according to the Emirates News Agency .

While GCC member countries announced last June that charges for SMS, voice calls and mobile data would be reduced starting in April, the amount wasn't previously revealed. In the original announcement, the countries said that charges would be reduced steadily over three years for text messaging and calling. Data charges would be reduced over five years, according to Reuters .

Some $1.13 billion in savings has been predicted for users.


However, it is unclear within what time frame this amount of savings will be seen.

"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. 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," Shibli said.

The decision comes as GCC countries work to further integrate their economic ties. Several Gulf telecom companies already service multiple GCC countries.