Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister of Communication and Information and Technology has assured people that mobile phone subscribers will have free roaming outside their circle before October 2013. The minister added that the Telecom regulatory Authority of India had already issued a consultation paper and soon after that recommendations were received.
Sibal recently attended an event in Chandigarh and said that free roaming will be in place before October, but has not specified any particular date. As per the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT) internal note, free roaming should have been available for users by March 2013. However, it has now been delayed by 4 to 5 months.
Estimations have revealed that after the abolition of the roaming charges, telecom companies will suffer a loss of about Rs. 13,500 crore in revenue. These companies are opposing the government over the issue of making roaming charges free. However, analysts believe that these telecom companies can easily recover by adjusting in other tariffs.
Mahesh Uppal, a Delhi-based telecom consultant said, “At a commercial level, high roaming charges can often be blamed on competitors. Operators may be reluctant to increase tariffs in competitive markets.” In December, the TRAI had released a pre-consultation paper seeking views from stakeholders on tariff for national roaming.