The bi-communal technical committee on entrepreneurial, economic and trade issues is still struggling with legal issues regarding linking mobile telephony across the island. The idea was agreed upon in 2015 as a confidence building measure by the two Cypriot community leaders.
At their meeting on 26 February, both leaders agreed that mobile phone interoperability would be best achieved through separate arrangements of operators on both sides with a hub based in Europe, in order to enhance communications between north and south Cyprus.
This method would avoid 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 because of a law in South Cyprus that prohibits licensed operators from cooperating with unlicensed operators.
Mobile operators in the north are not licensed by the authorities in the South.
Leonidas Paschalides, of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Greek Cypriot daily ‘Politis’ that talks by the technical committee would continue in an attempt to find an arrangement for island-wide roaming.
“There is no specific outcome yet. But that doesn’t mean we won’t come to an arrangement. There are obstacles, but they are not insurmountable”, he said.
Linking up the both sides’ mobile telephony via roaming has been discussed intermittently for years. Several possible solutions were explored, but all were rejected for different reasons.