National Roaming Calls And SMS To Get Cheaper; Not Free

Telecom regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) said it would allow carriers to offer free nationwide mobile roaming to subscribers for a fixed fee from July 1. It has said there will be no complete reduction from roaming charges as such.

“TRAI has reduced ceilings for national roaming calls and SMS and instituted a new regime for providing flexibility to telecom service providers to customise tariffs for national roamers through STVs (Special Tariff Vouchers) and Combo Vouchers,” the regulator said in a statement.

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Starting July 1, 2013, ceilings for national roaming calls and SMS will be a reduced – Re 1 per minute for outgoing local calls and Rs 1.50 per minute for outgoing STD calls on national roaming, against Rs 1.40 per minute and Rs 2.40 per minute, respectively. The ceiling on incoming calls on roaming have been cut to  75 paise/minute from Rs 1.75 earlier, while outgoing local SMS will cost Rs 1 and outgoing STD SMS will cost Rs 1.50 from July 1.

“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.”

“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,” the regulator said.

Trai has decided that STVs and Combo Vouchers which were as of now allowed only for home tariffs can be permitted for roaming tariffs. This will provide service providers with innumerable flexibility options with their pricing options.

Also, TRAI has directed telcos to offer special plans for subscribers on roaming. The consumer will now be able to choose between full roaming and partly roaming service plans.

The move is quite significant, but I definitely don’t understand why the Indian telecom industry hasn’t quite matured when it comes to consumerism. When consumers want no roaming charges, they mean that lcacl charges should equal those applied on roaming, which is not what TRAI seems to have worked towards. TRAI should look at EU, which is in the final stages of abolishing roaming charges.

Source | Tech2

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