According to a person familiar with the matter, India's largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel is planning to scrap domestic roaming charges. However, roaming charges on outgoing calls or on data usage continue to apply to its customers.
The company in a press statement announcing new roaming revisions calls it "Death of National Roaming" where it will offer free incoming calls and SMS. Previously, there used to be some booster packs for making the incoming roaming calls free for postpaid users and prepaid users, there should be a minimum balance to receive a call, and that's going to change now. It features an automatic adjustment that is equal to the daily pack for that particular country. "Bill shocks will now be a thing of the past". Under the facility, the user will be automatically moved to the respective country's 1-day tariff plan upon hitting the price of one-day pack, Bharti Airtel said.
Airtel's venturing into free roaming could also force other incumbent operators to copy its suit and drop charges on roaming nationally, the report said.
From 1 April, 2017 Airtel users won't be charged for national roaming. If Airtel does go ahead with this plan, other telecom companies including Vodafone and Idea are also likely to come up with similar plans to maintain their customers.
Reliance Jio Infocomm's newly unveiled "Prime" offer - about 30 GB of data and unlimited voice calls for Rs 303 a month starting April 1- has stoked a veritable price war in the telecom sector for retaining upper tier customers, possibly leading to a serious compression in revenue for rival carriers, analysts and industry experts said.
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This is welcome move by Airtel, which will evoke loyalty among subscribers, who before the entry of Reliance Jio, used to get harassed with non-consent data charges within the country itself.
Cutting worldwide roaming charges won't hurt since global pacts are done on the basis barter deals.
Last week, Reliance Jio had announced free roaming across India and ensured there will not be any black days.
"With this, Airtel mobile customers will be able to carry their numbers across India and the world and stay connected all the time without having to worry about high call/data charges", it said.