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Roaming charges likely to be waived off by February-March, 2013: DoT

December 04, 2012

Roaming charges likely to be waived off ...
According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the roaming charges in the country are likely to be done away with by February-March, 2013.

DoT is looking at a three month timeframe for working out all the modalities to ensure operators do not levy any roaming charges on customers when they are travelling across the country. Once the roaming charges are waived off, mobile users will be able to get incoming calls free of charge and be able to make outgoing calls at local rates while travelling anywhere in the country.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet approved the policy to waive off roaming charges in May, 2012. However, it did not set a timeframe to implement the same. Owing to protests from operators on doing away with the roaming charges there have been delays in the implementation of the policy. Making roaming free will affect operators’ profits. Currently, operators charge Re 1 per minute for incoming calls and Rs 1.50 per minute for outgoing calls from subscribers while they are travelling across the country. SMS is also priced at Rs 1.50 per message.

However, before implementing the policy, DoT will have to will have to take a decision on pan-India unified licensing. It will also have to take the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s views on key issues such as numbering plan and interconnection to facilitate free roaming services. This is part of a seven-point plan which DoT wants to implement in the next three months.

This plan also includes introducing intra-circles mobile number portability. Currently, a mobile user can use number portability services within the same circle. So if a user moves from Delhi to Mumbai and wants to change his operator he is not able to retain the phone number as of now. But once intra-circle mobile number portability is introduced, then a user can transfer his phone number to any operator anywhere in the country.




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