11:07 am - Saturday 29 April 2017

2013 – Roam without roaming charges

By Parvina Purkayastha - Sat Sep 22, 12:52 pm

National Telecom Policy - 'One Nation - Free Roaming'

So, far though the specific time is uncertain, but 2013 onward it will be a relief for the customers. The communication ministry will do away with roaming charges paid by mobile users while travelling across India.

Earlier this year, Communication Minister of India, Kapil Sibal had announced the policy of  ’one nation – free roaming‘, which was later asked by the finance ministry to submit the road map for implementation of the policy.

 In May, the Union Cabinet had approved the National Telecom Policy – 2012 that aimed at doing away with roaming charges and introducing a pan-India mobile permit (unified licence) that would enable mobile phone firms to offer all communication services.

Telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar said, ”Our first priority is the upcoming spectrum auctions. At the same time, we are working on the Unified Licence (UL) and we want to finalise this by December. Once the UL regime is rolled out post December, concepts like ‘One nation-free roaming’ that is part of it will be introduced. This will happen sometime next year (2013). At this stage it will be impossible to specify the exact timeframe.”

This consumer-centric move, which is bound to bring down the mobile bills of frequent travellers, will dent revenues of India’s beleaguered telecom companies since roaming charges account for about 10% of the sector’s annual sales.

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