TRAI seeks industry view to reduce roaming call and SMS rates

National roaming

Telecom regulator TRAI has floated a consultation paper to bring down the rates of mobile calls and SMSes that are currently charged from a customer on availing roaming facility.

Among various options to reduce or remove additional cost burden on roaming customers, TRAI has proposed a new norm Home Price Rule -- wherein a mobile subscriber should be charged the same amount that he pays when he is not roaming.

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, mobile phone customers on roaming are generally charged Re 1 for outgoing local call, Rs 1.5 for outgoing STD call and Re 1 for incoming call on per minute basis. For each outgoing SMS, customers are generally charged Rs 1.5.

On the other hand, when customer is not roaming an outgoing local call costs him/her around 72 paise, outgoing STD call 90 paise, each local SMS Re 1 and STD SMS in range of Rs 1.5 to Rs 3.45, according to TRAI.

"It is deemed necessary to undertake an exercise to review the framework for tariffs for national roaming. An additional consideration for carrying out this review is to address the objective of working towards "One Nation Free Roaming" stated in the National Telecom Policy 2012," TRAI said in its consultation paper.

TRAI added that the aspiration for "removal of roaming charges is an aspect of the overall policy thrust towards removal of geographic barriers in licensing and telecom operations to promote free mobility for usage of communications facilities in the country."

Besides technical issues that increase service rates for roaming customers, TRAI has sought the opinion of industry on various interconnect usage charges (IUC) that an operators has to pay to other operators for completing both incoming and outgoing call of customers.

To make incoming calls free during roaming, TRAI has sought industry's view on carriage charge (one of various IUC) which service providers are required to pay to the other operator for incoming calls on mobile numbers of the former's network.

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