Airtel Charges Re. 1 For Incoming SMS on Roaming! TRAI Order Violation?
I am sure many mobile subscribers are quite happy that Airtel (and subsequently other providers) are making incoming voice calls on roaming free or at much reduced fixed rates.
[box type=”shadow” ]But here is the thing that most of the consumers (including me) did not know – Though the incoming calls on roaming are free, the consumers will be charged Rs. 1 per incoming SMS (yes, incoming not outgoing) when on roaming.[/box]
Check out the Tariff card put up by Airtel on their website for pre-paid roaming:
You can clearly see in the snapshot above that while the standard rates for prepaid subscribers on roaming is mentioned at Rs. 1 per SMS.
This is a big thing that prepaid consumers should understand otherwise their pre-paid balances will run out very fast. Think about the SMSes that you get on daily basis. From your banking institution, from the services you have subscribed to, from your social media platforms (if you have sms updates on) and to top it from marketing companies and spammers. I am not even talking about genuine SMSes that come from your family and friends.
So, when you are on roaming, every incoming SMS will cost you a rupee each. Infact, making a call may turn out much cheaper than receiving an SMS.
In short, though your incoming calls on roaming may be free, in reality you will end up paying much more on SMS than what you did earlier.
The second important thing that comes to my mind is whether or not “charging for incoming SMSes” is in violation of TRAI order.
Here is the cap set by TRAI as per June 17 order: Outgoing SMS (local) at Re 1 per SMS and outgoing SMS (STD) at Rs 1.50 per SMS. Incoming SMS will remain free of charge.
please bear in mind that this is just a cap, operators are free to charge at rates below the given cap. And, if the cap on incoming SMS is free, then obviously Airtel or any other provider must keep it free. Charging for SMS means a direct violation of the order.
To cross check we also checked out tariff page for Tata Docomo, they are not charging for incoming SMS on roaming and I guess that’s the case with other operators as well.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
[Hat Tip: Kris Swaminathan]