Two mobile phone operators in the north have signed separate deals with an overseas telecoms company, it was announced on Thursday, part of efforts to link up the two communities via roaming.
Meltem Onurkan Samani, coordinator of the bicommunal technical committees, was quoted as saying that Telsim Vodafone and North Cyprus Turkcell entered into separate agreements with Comfone, a Switzerland-based international telecommunications company that provides mobile roaming, inter-carrier, and hub-based services to telecom operators worldwide.
Back in February, the leaders of the two communities agreed that mobile phone interoperability would be best achieved through separate agreements of operators on both sides with a hub based in Europe, in order to facilitate greater interaction between the two communities.
In this way, it would bypass the need for operators on either side of the island to enter into direct contracts with one another. Such direct agreements are currently not possible, due to a law in the Republic that prohibits licensed operators from cooperating with unlicensed operators.
Mobile operators in the north are not licensed by the authorities of the Republic.
The linking of mobile telephony networks between the south and the north is part of a series of confidence-building measures agreed in 2015.