08:44 am - Thursday 27 April 2017

“One Nation – Free Roaming” approves no roaming charges from 2013 – Government

By Parvina Purkayastha - Tue Sep 25, 10:36 am

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said that roaming would be free for subscribers from next year.

In a sigh of relief to the mobile phone users, from 2013 onwards  subscribers can travel without having to any roaming charges. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal  said that roaming would be free for subscribers from next year.

The National Telecom Policy “One Nation – Free Roaming” 2012 was approved by the Cabinet in May, this year. It allows customers to use the same number in any corner of the country without having to pay extra charges for the services.

The ongoing system charges “roaming charges” when a subscriber steps outside his telecom circle. Experts say the move may lead to higher tariffs as many operators get around 6-7 per cent revenues from roaming services. The impact is likely be more severe on telcos that operate in metro circles. The four metros and Bangalore and Hyderabad constitute over 50 per cent of roaming revenues.

GSM industry body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said he appreciated the concept of free roaming, but added that industry will have to work on details of implementation of  ‘One Nation – Free Roaming‘.

When asked about the impact on mobile phone call rates, Mathews said, “That is matter which we will have to work with Trai (telecom regulator). Trai is ultimately responsible for setting the tariffs…We hope that Trai will follow due process of consultation paper.”

However, earlier, Mathew had said that “Roaming revenues help many operators cross-subsidise voice calls. Once this cushion is not available, we might see tariffs of voice calls go up.”

According to sectoral regulator TRAI, there are 944.81 million mobile phone user in the country as on July 2012.

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2013 – Roam without roaming charges

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