In an integrated economy, people travel more across the region as restrictions on investment, tourism and employment are reduced. This will lead to heavier use of international roaming services in mobile devices.
The Record of Intent (ROI) on a Cooperation Framework which was adopted by the ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators Council (ATRC) has included since 2011 mechanisms to facilitate the mutual reduction of mobile roaming charges. The ROI also aims to strengthen telecommunications regulatory cooperation and collaboration to effectively develop the telecommunications industry.
Malaysia and Singapore entered into a bilateral agreement in 2011 to reciprocally lower the roaming charges for voice and short messaging service (SMS). Brunei Darussalam and Singapore signed a bilateral agreement in September 2014 to mutually reduce international mobile voice and data roaming rates effective 1 January 2015. Other ASEAN Member States (AMS) are considering entering into similar arrangements.
The above initiative improves the usability of mobile communication services in neighbouring AMS and lowers telecommunication costs for people using their local mobile subscription when travelling across the region. These encourage more business and leisure travel in ASEAN, ultimately contributing to the region’s economic growth.