Starting July, users will need to shell out less for calls made while on roaming as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Monday, reduced the ceiling level for national roaming tariffs.
While the telecom regulator ruled out fully free national roaming for the time being, it added that subscribers will be able to enjoy fully free roaming in lieu of a fixed payment to the service provider.
“The essential idea of free roaming is that roaming tariff should be equal to home tariff (the rates applicable when customer is not on roaming). Mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practical at this juncture,” TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar told reporters here.
Compelling a transition to a fully free national roaming regime would result in telecom service providers not being able to recover their costs from roamers and they would pass these costs on to all consumers, he said. The ceiling for national roaming calls has been reduced by 29 per cent to Re 1 per minute for an outgoing local call from Rs. 1.40 per minute. The ceiling for outgoing STD call has been set at Rs. 1.50 per minute against Rs. 2.40 per minute, a decline of 38 per cent.
The cap for incoming calls while on national roaming has been cut by 57 per cent to 75 paise from Re 1. The cap on SMSes has been set at Re 1 for local and Rs. 1.50 for STD messages. Incoming SMSes will continue to remain free of charge.
The regulator has mandated two types of national roaming plans under which users can choose partial or fully free roaming for a fixed charge.
“Under both the plans, the home tariff will be equal to the roaming tariff. However, in one plan, incoming while on roaming will be free but a fix charge will be levied, while in the other regime, you don't give free incoming and there will be no fixed charges,” the Chairman said.
Customers will also have additional option of special tariff vouchers (STVs) and combo vouchers, which, as of now, are available for home tariffs.