India : STD rates and SMS rates will get a steep cut by 35% and 80% respectively for users while roaming as per TRAI’s proposed amendment.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India i.e. TRAI on Friday has drafted an amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 in which it has proposed a drastic cut in the ceiling tariffs for the National roaming services like long distance calling i.e. STD rates by 35% and the short message service i.e SMS by 80%. This proposal is pending approval based on opinion and views from its stakeholders and should be finalized by March 13, 2015.
The smartphone service providers have set some tariffs ceilings for their subscriber. Normally when subscriber is availing the service in their home town the “local tariffs” are applicable however when the subscriber moves from their home town to any other state then the concept of National roaming service gets applicable as the service provider now takes support of other service provider or visited network and hence subscriber is charged more which is termed as “roaming tariff”. Below is a comparison between the current tariffs and the proposed ones:
- For Outgoing local calls : Current ceiling tariff (maximum limit) when on roaming is set for Re.1 per minute however the proposed amendment wants this to be set at 65 paise per minute which will be maximum limit.
- For STD calls: Current ceiling tariff when on roaming is set for Rs. 1.50 which is now proposed to set at Re.1 per minute which is maximum limit.
- For Incoming calls: Current ceiling tariff when on roaming is set 75 paise per minute and proposed will be reduced to 45 paise per minute again maximum limit.
- For SMS : The cut down is tremendous, current ceiling tariff when on roaming set at Rs 1.50 per SMS to proposed 25 paise maximum for each SMS.
- For Voice calls it will be a “cost based” ceiling tariff.
Recently TRAI has brought about lot of changes in its tariffs for other services like the latest introduction of “mobile number portability” MNP wherein user can change subscriber however the phone number allocated remains the same. Also prior to this IUC i.e. interconnect usage charges were slashed by 30%. IUC is the charge which user pays to the subscriber when they are calling user who is using a network different from the subscriber e.g. Airtel subscriber calls his/her friend who is subscriber of Vodafone.
Now TRAI is targeting the National roaming service tariffs. In all, the service providers do not seem to be happy with this amendment. The service providers are actually churning around 8,000 crore from the heavy roaming charges which are levied on their subscribers so but obvious that it will be difficult for them to digest this amendment.
Director general of the GSM industry, Rajan Mathews said “We are still assessing the impact of this (roaming) tariff cut. Even though roaming constitutes less than 8% of the total mobile industry revenue, the government seems to be just chipping all sources of revenue to the operators.”
Hopefully, this Amendment gets a clear consent from the stakeholders which will surely be a good news to all those who travel frequently for business purpose as the roaming tariffs must be surely a headache for them. For all those who are working in other cities, the proposal if enacted will make calling back home that much more cheaper.