The Department of Telecom (DoT) is expected to ask operators to abolish roaming charges and offer roaming free services from March next year. The Government has already announced making India a roaming free state.
However, service providers have been opposing the Government’s plans to eliminate roaming charges, which accounts for about 10 percent of their revenues. The telcos have also warned that they would be forced to increase tariffs to offset the loss incurred from elimination of roaming charges.
According to an internal DoT note, the telecom department has listed this move amongst ‘key initiatives to be completed within the next three months’.
In addition to the roaming charges, the DoT also wants to enlarge the mobile number portability (MNP) provision, allowing consumers to retain their numbers while moving to a new city or any location in the country without having to pay roaming charges.
The Cellular Operators Association of India, the industry lobby body of GSM providers has criticised the government’s plans to abolish roaming charges.
COAI has said that the telecom department must first sort out a slew of policy-related issues, including migration to the unified license before asking telcos to eliminate the roaming charge.