India’s telecoms watchdog, TRAI has reduced ceiling tariffs for national roaming calls and SMS and has mandated telecom service providers (TSPs) to offer a special roaming tariff plan. These changes will come into effect from the 1st May, 2015.
National roaming service is the facility provided to a subscriber to avail services subscribed in its home network, while travelling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network.
As per the existing framework for telecom access services, the country has been divided into 22 licensed service areas. Licenses are issued separately for each licensed service area. When a subscriber avails mobile services outside his home network, within the country, national roaming becomes applicable.
Tariffs for national roaming services were last revised in 2013 through the Telecommunications Tariff Order (55th Amendment), 2013 dated 17.06.2013. While formulating the revised tariff regime for national roaming, TRAI had indicated that the new tariff regime shall be subject to review after a year. The Authority issued a Draft Telecommunication Tariff (60th Amendment) Order, 2015 on 27.02.2015 for comments of the stakeholders.
Through this amendment Order, the Authority has removed the existing mandate to the TSPs for providing RTP and RTP-FR and has mandated the TSPs to offer a Special Roaming Tariff Plan to its pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. In Special Roaming Tariff Plan, incoming voice calls while on national roaming shall be free, on payment of fixed charge, if any.
All subscribers will benefit from the reduced ceilings; competitive pricing below the new ceiling levels is expected.