TRAI (The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) announced that it has lowered the ceiling tariffs for national roaming service and has also mandated that telecom operators have to come out with special roaming tariff plans for pre-paid as well as post-paid subscribers in India.
Apart from this, TRAI has reduced the ceiling tariff for SMSes to nearly one-fourth of existing prices. According to the new ceiling rates, all out going calls on roaming will be capped at 80 paise per minute, which was earlier at Re 1. Outgoing long distance voice calls while on roaming is capped at Rs. 1.15 per minute; previously it was Rs. 1.50. The cap for Incoming voice calls while on roaming has been brought down from 75 paise per minute to 45 paise per minute.
The cap for SMS rates has been reduced by as much as 75 percent. Outgoing SMSes while on national roaming will now maximum out at 25 paise per SMS compared to Re.1, while outgoing long distance (inter-circle) SMSes while on roaming will have a maximum of 38 paise, a huge discount compared to the previous Rs. 1.50.
While some operators have been charging tariffs below the ceiling rate, those who charged at the ceiling rate will need to reduce their rates. Apart from this, TRAI has mandated all telecom operators to come out with a special roaming tariff plan, wherein incoming voice calls while on national roaming shall be free, on payment of fixed charge, if any. Airtel has this plan, currently at Rs5 per day for free incoming on roaming.
TRAI Secretary Sudhir Gupta said in a press release that “All subscribers will benefit from the reduced ceilings; competitive pricing below the new ceiling levels is expected.”
|Existing ceiling tariff||Revised ceiling Tariff|
|Outgoing local voice call||Re. 1.00 per minute||Re. 0.80 per minute|
|Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) voice call||Rs. 1.50 per minute||Rs. 1.15 per minute|
|Incoming voice call||Re. 0.75 per minute||Re. 0.45 per minute|
|Outgoing local SMS||Re. 1.00 per SMS||Re. 0.25 per SMS|
|Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) SMS||Rs.1.50 per SMS||Re. 0.38 per SMS|
With rates like these, it really pays to get an Indian SIM card. If you happen to have a US mobile that doesn’t use GSM, you can buy a cheap phone in India for under $20, which is really worth it if you need to call overseas. Paying roaming charges on a foreign SIM, or calling from any big hotel can rack up that much in minutes.