A significant reduction in roaming charges will be observed nationwide from 1 July onwards as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed new tariffs for national roamers.
"TRAI has reduced ceilings for national roaming calls and SMS and instituted a new regime for providing flexibility to telecom service providers to customise tariffs for national roamers through STVs (Special Tariff Vouchers) and Combo Vouchers," Rajeev Agarwal, TRAI Secretary, said in a statement.
While on roaming, outgoing local call have been lowered to ₹1 per minute from ₹1.40 (as revised in 2007) and outgoing STD calls have been capped to ₹1.50 per minute from ₹2.40. With an almost 60 percent reduction, incoming calls while on roaming have been reduced to 75 paise from an earlier ₹1.75.
Tariff for outgoing SMS on national roaming have been capped at ₹1 and ₹1.50 for outgoing local and outgoing STD messages, respectively.
This has come as a relief for telecom operators who had opposed the scheme of free roaming.
"With increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with national roaming have declined, but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing the national roaming facility," Agarwal said in support of the telcos.
The amendment passed by the regulator on Monday discussed the impact on revenue 'ranging from ₹1800 crores to ₹2200 crores under various scenarios,' if there is absolute free roaming.
"Mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practicable at this juncture. 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," Agarwal added.
In turn, TRAI has given an option to telecom service providers to charge consumers (predominantly non-roamers) for building their revenue costs.
The regulator has left tariff for video calls on national roaming untouched since it recognises 3G in its nascent stage.