The national free roaming service which Kapil Sibal promised Indians last year during the release of the National Telecom Policy has been postponed again. It was supposed to be implemented by March this year but will now be put into action in the month of October, according to reports.
This free roaming thing has been a subject of much debate between the Government and cellular network operators as this move eats into a guaranteed revenue pipeline for telcos in India. According to some estimates, revenue from roaming charges is around 9% of the total revenue that telcos earn. However, the Government had decided to go ahead with the move in the month of March even though bodies like Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had criticized the move saying that it would have financial implications for the telcos as well as the customers. If the telcos do provide free roaming, they will charge more for data and voice, something which would not go down well subscribers everywhere, especially small towns and rural areas. If telcos decide to not do this, then will suffer losses. The industry is rumored to be in financial trouble anyway due to costs associated with acquiring licenses and the running operations.
However, there is another view which says that if the free roaming rule is applied then there will be more usage thus giving telcos sustained usage all over the country. This seems plausible but seems to be more of a risk. If however, the free roaming move gets implemented, I believe it boost mobile usage much further thus giving rise to higher usage in voice, data and VAS. VAS are the key towards revenue generation for telcos and many of them are considering data and VAS to be the sustained money spinner for them.
What is your take on the issue? Share your thoughts with us.
Source | Lightreading India
Image Courtesy | Shutterstock