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TRAI Reduces National Roaming Ceiling, Permits Customized Tariffs

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It has been going on for some time now that soon there would be no roaming in India. The idea sounds great for the people who travel a lot as it is difficult to keep different sim cards for different areas. Also, it would mean excellent for people who have relocated as they can keep the sim without worrying about the roaming charges.

Government has maintained that they are trying to get this done as soon as possible. The telecom companies however are reluctant in doing this as it would be a hit on their revenue stream. The companies are already on the line with our cheap call rates so it doesn’t seem likely that they would so easily give up the roaming charges.

Besides this, the market has reached saturation and there are no more pool of customers that can be tapped and soon most of the change in the market share will be through Mobile Number Portability (MNP).

roaming charges-001

In such a scenario, TRAI has come up with something that might give direction to at least partial free roaming.

New Ceiling for National Roaming

Service

Price New

Price Old

Outgoing Local Re. 1 per minute Rs. 1.40 per minute
Outgoing STD Rs. 1.50 per minute Rs. 2.40 per minute
Incoming Rs. 0.75 per minute Rs. 1.75 per minute

The price for SMS for local and STD are Re. 1 and Rs. 1.5 per SMS. Incoming SMS will be free.

The new pricing will be effective from July 1.

As for Roaming, TRAI opines – “With the increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with National Roaming has declined but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing national roaming. 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 their higher tariffs.”

Taking this into consideration, TRAI has decided to allow and mandate the service providers to provide special offers for people who need partial of free roaming service at a fixed charge.

This effectively means that people who travel a lot or are going to a particular place can use this to get free roaming. Depending upon the price this might or might not be very useful to people who have actually relocated to some new place.

The competitive nature of Indian Telecom Sector though makes me believe that the prices won’t be very high. Also, it would, in a way give test run for the Telecom providers to see if they can manage a completely free roaming service any time soon.

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