Roaming charges for calls, SMSes slashed from July 1
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reduced national roaming calls and SMS tariff ceilings from July 1 and said it would allow telecom service providers to offer national mobile roaming to subscribers for a fixed fee from the same date.
The ceiling tariffs prescribed by TRAI, in 2007, were Rs 1.40 per minute for outgoing calls and Rs 2.40 per minute for outgoing STD calls while on national roaming. These ceilings have been reduced to Re 1 per minute and Rs 1.50 per minute, respectively. Similarly, the ceiling tariffs for incoming calls while on national roaming have been reduced from Rs 1.75 per minute to 0.75 paise per minute.
However, tariffs for outgoing SMS on national roaming have been capped: outgoing SMS-local at Re 1per SMS and outgoing SMS-STD at Rs 1.50 per SMS. Incoming SMS will remain free of charge. It said competitive pricing below the new ceiling levels is expected. It also planned to encourage Special Tariff Vouchers and Combo Vouchers to be permitted for roaming tariffs.
This exercise to review national roaming tariffs was initiated by TRAI earlier this year to move towards ‘One Nation-Free Roaming’ throughout the country, as mentioned in the New Telecom Policy, 2012.
“With increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with national roaming have declined, but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing the national roaming facility,” read the statement issued by TRAI.
“Mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practicable at this juncture. Compelling a transition to a fully free national roaming regime would result in telecom service providers not being able to recover their costs from roamers. In turn, telecom service providers would pass these costs on to all consumers (predominantly non-roamers) through higher tariffs.”