Mobile calls while in roaming will be cheaper by up to 23 per cent, while sending SMSes will cost up to 40 per cent less from May 1 as regulator TRAI has slashed ceiling tariffs.
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 today.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (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 38 paise from Rs 1.5 per SMS.
Also, an operator can charge a maximum 25 paise for each local SMS instead of the current Re 1 per SMS at present. A telecom operator can charge a maximum 80 paise per minute for a local call instead of Re 1 permitted at present.
For incoming calls during roaming, a mobile customer will be required to pay a maximum of 45 paise only per minute instead of 75 paise now.
On the other hand, in a blow to consumers, the regulator has removed the roaming tariff plan, RTP and RTP-FR, under which the consumer paid the same charges as his home circle or service area while in roaming.
Under 'Roaming Tariff Plan (RTP)' clause, the charges for outgoing voice calls and outgoing SMS, both local as well as long distance (inter-circle), did not change with the location of the subscriber within the country.
The 'RTP-FR' plan allowed the subscriber to pay same charges as his home service area for outgoing local and STD calls as well as SMS during roaming. In addition, incoming calls were free on roaming in lieu of fixed charges under RTP-FR.
The regulator has mandated operators to introduce a new 'Special Roaming Tariff Plan', which will offer only free incoming calls on payment of a fixed charge, but do away with other features.