Starting next month, mobile calls while in roaming will be cheaper by up to 23 percent, while sending a local SMS will cost only Rs. 0.25, a steep cut of 75 percent from the present Re. 1, as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has slashed tariff ceilings.
However, following this Trai order, subscribers will not be able to avail of schemes that allowed them to make calls and send SMSes while in roaming at home circle rates.
“Trai has reduced ceiling tariffs for national roaming calls and SMS and has mandated telecom service providers to offer a special roaming tariff plan. These changes will come into effect from May 1, 2015,” Trai said in a statement on Thursday.
Trai has cut the maximum or ceiling rate that a telecom operator can charge for STD calls on roaming to Rs. 1.15 per minute from Rs. 1.5. Similarly, national SMS rate has been reduced to Rs. 0.38 from Rs. 1.5 per SMS.
Also, an operator can charge a maximum of Rs. 0.25 only for a local SMS instead of the current Re. 1 per SMS.
Under the revised tariff, a telecom operator can charge a maximum of Rs. 0.80 per minute for a local call instead of Re. 1 permitted at present.
The regulator had earlier proposed to bring down outgoing STD calls to Re. 1 a minute and local calls to Rs. 0.65 but could not do following protest from telecom operators.
Reacting to the revised tariff, industry body COAI’s Director General Rajan S Mathews said that revision in roaming rates should have been left to market forces.
He, however, added that “I am glad that the Authority differentiated between local and roaming rates becuase it recognised that there is an STD interconnect charges component which has to be recovered”.
COAI during consultation process had said the ceiling rate for roaming should not be lower than the prevailing rack rate of home service area.
For incoming calls during roaming, a mobile customer will be required to pay a maximum of Rs. 0.45 only per minute instead of Rs. 0.75 now.