For Aircel, waiving of roaming charges is proving to be the silver lining in a cloud filled with surging costs and severe margin pressure.
The Tamil Nadu-based operator had announced a tariff plan two months ago that offers one rate across its network, even as rivals such as Bharti Airtel protested against a Government policy aimed at waiving roaming charges.
“For us, no roaming charges are here to stay. Over the last two months, we have started to attract a different type of customer, a more high-value subscriber. This is giving us good growth momentum, and increased market share,” said Anupam Vasudev, Chief Marketing Officer, Aircel. Mr. Vasudev was here on Wednesday to announce the launch of a multi-crore Chennai Super Kings-based marketing campaign that will kick off from March 15. A common complaint by most telecom companies was that waiving roaming charges would wipe out nearly 10 per cent of their revenue, and would, hence, prove to be unviable. However, according to Mr. Vasudev, this could be worked around.
“While I can’t speak for the overall industry, it isn’t as if we are completely giving it away for free. We are charging a fee, around Rs. 21 – Rs. 50, for the plan. It helps us boost our market share while spreading positive word-of-mouth marketing for us,” he said.
When the Government last year had announced its National Telecom Policy, it was indicated that from 2013 there would be no national roaming charges, a deadline that has now been pushed to October due to opposition from operators.