There has been a huge outcry from mobile operators on the Department of Telecom's move to abolish roaming charges fully for consumers who travelling with in the country as this mean a 10% revenue loss. Operators had threatened to increase the usage tariffs to offset for this roaming revenue loss.
However, it seems DoT is moving ahead with this ‘consumer friendly initiative' and has listed this as one of the policies to be implemented within three months. It means operators would be forced to offer this free roaming service to consumer starting March next year.
DoT is also considering extending the MNP scheme from intra circle to national level from March. This would mean consumers can retain their numbers when they move from one place to another too within the country. Till now they were allowed to retain their number when they move from one operator to another operator but only within the circle.
Operators are expressing wide array of concerns including tariff increase and overflow of SIM's across circles leading to tariff arbitrage. A spokesperson of a GSM operator reacted to this proposed move from DoT and stated that this would create a state of tariff imbalance in the country.
Earlier roaming services were only availed by affluent people and hence the tariff charges for common mass remained low. But now operators would be forced to increase the tariff which would impact the non-roaming and common people.
It seems that DoT may have to think about bringing in a unified tariff scheme too for operators in India if they want to cut this tariff imbalance coming up in near future. The other issue could be the overflow of SIM's from those circles which offer lowest STD rates; this will also lead to tariff arbitrage which could impact operator's revenue significantly.