NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) reduced roaming call and SMSs charges on Monday but stopped short of making them free as promised earlier by the government in the run-up to the elections.
Trai has also instituted a new regime for providing flexibility to telecom companies to customise tariffs for roaming users through special tariff vouchers and combo vouchers and introduce conditional free roaming plans.
According to a Trai statement, the changes will come into effect from July 1.
Roaming ceiling tariffs prescribed by Trai in 2007 were Rs 1.40 per minute for outgoing local calls and Rs 2.40 per minute for outgoing STD calls. These ceilings have been reduced to Re1 per minute and Rs 1.50 per minute respectively. Similarly, ceiling tariffs for incoming calls while on roaming have been reduced from Rs 1.75 per minute to 75 paise per minute.
Tariffs for outgoing SMSs while on roaming, which were earlier under forbearance, have now been capped: outgoing SMS (local) at Rs 1 per SMS and outgoing SMS (STD) at Rs 1.50 per SMS. Incoming SMS will remain free of charge.
“The authority has decided to reduce the ceiling (upper price for roaming call and SMS rates) across board permitting telecom providers to issue special tariff voucher and mandating that a roaming plan will be offered (for post-paid customers),” Trai chairman Rahul Khullar told reporters here.
Khullar added that operators have been mandated to provide two types of roaming plan for customers.
“In one case, charges on incoming will be free but a fix charge will be levied and in the other regime you don’t give free incoming and there will be no fixed charges. The philosophy of authority is let customers decide what they want ... competition in the market will help in driving tariffs down.” The new plans will be among the 25 tariff plans that a company is allowed to offer to its customers.
The regulator said that making roaming completely free is not practical as of now. Khullar said that telecom operators are required to pay charges for using network of other service provider to transmitting and completing calls of their customers.
“Free incoming call imply that you will never be able to recover carriage and you never will be able to recover incoming call cost. Rough orders of estimate show ... something like that would cost you over Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 2,500 crore per annum.” He added that making incoming calls free during roaming would create huge amount of market distortion.
Trai has allowed free mobile roaming on payment of a fixed fee from July 1 and reduced roaming charges for others by up to 57% The ceilings on roaming charges prescribed by Trai in 2007 were Rs 1.40 per minute for outgoing local calls and ` 2.40 per minute for outgoing STD calls These ceilings have been reduced to Rs 1 per minute for outgoing local calls and RS 1.50 per minute for outgoing STD calls The ceiling for incoming calls while on national roaming has been reduced from Rs 1.75 per minute to 75 paise per minute Tariffs for outgoing SMSs while on national roaming have now been capped.
Outgoing SMS (local) to cost Rs 1 and outgoing SMS (STD) Rs 1.50.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.