No Roaming Charges for Mobile Users! Is it actually helpful?

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If someone has been listening to DoT lately (instead of political parties in general) there is important update on the telecom front. It was announced yesterday that the country shall be unified and no roaming shall be applied anymore.

India Map roaming-001

Also, people will be able to use MNP (Mobile number portability) between circles. There was no date set on this as such though and finally we have a tentative date. From next year there would not be any roaming charges.

Travellers rejoice!

But is it really that helpful. The two ways it is helpful (as I can see it) are-

  1. For people who are frequent travellers.
  2. For people who are shifting to a new place.

Rest of the people who might spend all their lives in a particular circle only and for them it is as good as absent.

Now, what do the people in these two categories do now?

The first one would obviously have two or more simcards according to the frequency of the places they visit. The second category of people had no choice but to obtain a new simcard and follow the tedious procedure of telling your near and dear ones the new number. Change the number in all the banks and keep the old number alive just in case someone is forgotten.

Now, for the first kind I do not think this scheme is profitable as such. Yes, they might now keep a single simcard but I do not think that this would be cheaper that keeping multiple simcards (prepaid has made it really easy for a person to have a mobile number in India).

Also, with the dual sim phones rampant in the market people do not actually have to carry an extra device to keep that sim.

For the second class of people, it will be a boon. Now, I see many things happening along with this decision.

First, postpaid should entice people more. Currently the percentage of Post-paid mobile customers in India is miniscule. As a person can keep the phone anywhere in the country it is more useful in many ways with cheaper calls and other facilities. At least companies should push for more postpaid accounts.

Second, this should have some kind of impact on dual sim phones’ sale. Many people who bought dual sim phones do it to keep two different zones’ sim. Now with that no longer be a problem the need of a dual sim phone is reduced.

Third, overall, it turns out to be costlier than the current situation. How? Well, to balance the revenue that companies generate they will have to do something (read increase tariff) which means that what was earlier paid by the one roaming it will be distributed among the whole mass of people.

I might be wrong and this turns out to be a fad and no huge impact is made on the telecom sector but right now it feels that at least one of the above three is going to happen.

Your comments are welcome…

  1. Debashis Haldar says

    This will be very helpful for the users since they can have one mobile number all the time. With the increase of business travels and migration in India, it will be more effective. Moreover, the total number of phone numbers assigned will be reduced considerably. Because people generally don't return or cancel the old SIM card now, the number of unused SIMs is huge. This will make the entire phone numbering system efficient.

    1. Baishakhi Banerjee says

      Tumi benefit na bujhleo didi bujhbe….kaino na ami kolkataye gaeley nijer phn a call receive korina…

  2. Naweed says

    The last time I checked mobile service providers in India were adopting frugal engineering to widen and consolidate their reach among the population. This involves providing extremely cheap services/goods to attract mass adoption.

    Removal of roaming charges seems to be part of the frugal engineering exercise.

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