Earlier in the month, Idea Cellular was first to announce huge rate cuts on international roaming for their post-paid customers. Reliance quickly followed it up and slashed their rates on their VOIP network Reliance Global Call . Now, Airtel has taken the cue and have come up with even better packages for their customers on International roaming.
According to the press release sent to us, Airtel has announced launch of 3 new International Roaming packs for their post-paid mobile customers traveling to USA. Additionally, customers can avail upto 5 hours of free incoming calls on their mobile while in the country.
3 New USA roaming packs announced by Bharti Airtel
The 3 packs available are in denominations of Rs. 1000, Rs. 3500 and Rs. 8500. While the free incoming minutes on lower rate packages are quite low, if the user opts for Rs. 8500 package they get upto 5 hours of free incoming calls. It is interesting to note that, like Idea or Reliance, Airtel has not come up with any data plans.
Although, the Airtel rates are relatively cheaper, they are still exorbitantly expensive, if one compares the VOIP rates or minutes offered by international calling cards. It is surprising that international calls are still priced at around Rs. 60 per minute. There are some calling cards that offer probably 10 times more international calling minutes.
I know of many mobile users traveling abroad, who use international roaming facility just like a pager. They never make or take a call on their India mobile. Instead, they carry the phones and just check from where the call has come and return the call using a public telephone and calling card, which works out to be much cheaper. International Calling services like Matrix offer cheaper rates than the packs offered by Airtel. However, there is always a hassle of changing the numbers when you are traveling abroad.
Like I have said previously, it is good to see that telecom operators are reducing International calling rates, but they have still come down further for it to have a mass appeal.