RIP Roaming; Airtel Kills Roaming Charges To Fight Jio’s Free Calling Plans!


Airtel Roaming Charges

Ever since mobile telephony entered India, and we got used to the concept of mobile phones, one word which instilled terror within us was: Roaming. Whenever you went outside your home territory and used your mobile phone, a special roaming charge is being applied for all incoming calls, outgoing calls, SMS and even data usage.

Airtel, India’s largest telecom company, has decided to kill the very concept of roaming, once for all. Hence, 26 crore Airtel customers across India can now seamlessly use their mobile phones anywhere in the country, and there won’t be any roaming charge applicable.

Roaming, as we knew it, has officially died, at least for Airtel customers.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India, South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “This marks the death of national roaming and the whole country will now be like a local network for our customers, who will not have to think twice before making or receiving calls or using data while traveling outside their home base. Airtel has again set the benchmark in delivering best in class value backed by a great network experience.”

This extraordinary decision by Airtel has been triggered, in all likeliness, due to Jio’s free VoLTE based calling feature, across India. With Jio, the concept of roaming had already received a major blow, which has now been decimated with Airtel’s recent announcement.

This free roaming regime would be applicable effective April 1st, 2017.

Airtel’s Bonanza For International Roaming

While announcing free roaming across India, Airtel has also decided to waive off all International roaming charges for those customers, who forgot to activate their International roaming plans and accidentally incurred heavy charges.

Airtel had earlier announced International roaming plans for all customers, wherein they can all India for free, and also receive up to 3 GB of data, depending on the plan.

In a nice gesture, Airtel has decided that in case any customer forgets or fails to activate international roaming plans, then Airtel will auto-activate that plan once his billing reaches that payment threshold. Hence, say an Airtel customer visits Singapore and forgets to activate International roaming plan for Singapore, the minimum of which costs Rs 499 for a day.

Now, as soon as that customer’s roaming charges in Singapore reach Rs 499, Airtel will automatically activate Rs 499 International roaming plan for that customer, thereby saving him tons of money.

In fact, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel has appealed to all telecom operators to create a scenario wherein there are no roaming charges, anywhere in the world. He said, “As an industry, operators across the world must collaborate to remove the cost barrier to roaming and offer customers the convenience of staying connected without the fear of exorbitant bill charges..”

Airtel’s free roaming paradigm is indeed interesting, as other telecom operators would be now forced to offer the same, thereby removing the very concept of roaming forever.

Now, the question is: What next? Which aspect of telecom services would be now used for getting that competitive edge? What exactly is Jio thinking right now?

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1 Comment
  1. Trilok Chander K says

    Ok…That’s a good news..
    Now comes the question :)
    My phones battery lasts for a day or day and half if i’m in the local state.
    But if i move to other state i.e., where Roaming was applicable, my phones battery lasts for a half day or to the max. of a day.
    So, as they waived off the Roaming thing, will my phones battery lasts like in the local state ?

    Ideally it shouldn’t as the database will fix the way the phones’ modem is being used but i’m not sure ..
    Hence, seeking help/answers from this article :)

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