Roaming charges to go soon

TRAI to merge existing telecom circles
Last Updated 14 October 2010, 17:13 IST

Sources said telecom companies may stop roaming charges if the government accepts the report submitted by a high-level panel.   The panel constituted by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to make recommendations on strategic issues related to licensing matters, has recommended to the government to consider the entire country as a single service area or four separate zones instead of the existing 22 telecom circles.

In its report, the team has said: “There should be an option to merge certain service areas.” If the government accepts this recommendation, mobile users need not have to pay any extra money while travelling outside their home network. Carriers charge a higher rate for roaming and there are no uniform roaming charges as they differ from one operator to another.  

The report says: “There are roaming issues attached to 22 service areas. Keeping in view the development of technology catering to more traffic, there should be an option to merge certain service areas, making a bigger service area.”

Work out modalities

As the next step, the DoT may ask the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to work out the modalities to implement this recommendation. As per rules, a mobile service provider can charge a maximum of Rs 1.40 per minute for a local call for a mobile user travelling outside his home network, while for STD calls, the limit is Rs 2.40 per minute for all outgoing and Rs 1.75 per minute for all incoming calls, irrespective of the distance. After the tariff war began in 2009, several companies have reduced their roaming charges.

However, industry experts feel that mobile companies may not accept this recommendation easily as removing roaming charges may result in losing revenue. At present, around 10 per cent of the revenue of telecom companies comes from roaming charges.

Phone call rates to go down

In a move which will further bring down telephone call rates, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday initiated a process to rework telecom tariffs for mobile as well as basic services, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

The TRAI has issued a consultation paper to rework telecom tariffs and has sought views from all stakeholders, including operators, by November 15.

The TRAI initiative assumes significance in the wake of the rising number of promotional offers and increasing competition in the telecom market. It has received representations from consumers against the multiplicity of plans in the market, leading to confusion among them.

(Published 14 October 2010, 17:13 IST)

Follow us on