no free national roaming as of now

TELECOM regulator TRAI on Monday announced reduction in the national mobile phone roaming charges, but said there will be no free national roaming as of now.

The sectoral regulator has also come out with conditional free national roaming plans, a move that will bring down cell phone roaming charges. The changes will come into effect from next month.

“Trai has reduced ceiling 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 Tariffs Vouchers) and Combo Vouchers,” the regulators said in a statement. It has also mandated two types of free national roaming plans to be provided by all telecom services providers. These changes will come into effect from July 1, 2013, it added. “With increased subscribers and usage, the costs association with national roaming have declined, but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing the national roaming facility. “ 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,” the regulator said.

In turn, telecom service providers would pass these costs on to all consumers (predominantly non-roamers) through higher tariffs, it added.

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