The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has slashed ceiling tariffs for national roaming service and SMSes, effective 1 May, in a move that will result in cheaper roaming rates.
The regulator also directed telecom companies to offer special roaming tariff plan from the same date.
''All subscribers will benefit from the reduced ceilings; competitive pricing below the new ceiling levels is expected,'' TRAI said in a statement.
The outgoing local voice call on roaming has been cut to 80 paise per minute from Re1 per minute at present, while outgoing long distance (inter-circle) voice call on national roaming has been cut to Rs1.15 per minute from earlier Rs1.50 per minute, it added.
Incoming voice calls on national roaming have been cut to 45 paise per minute from 75 paise per minute.
Outgoing local SMS on national roaming will be 25 paise per SMS from Re1 per SMS and outgoing long distance (inter-circle) SMS while on national roaming will be 38 paise per SMS from Rs 1.50 per SMS.
''TRAI has recognised there are long distance costs that need to be covered and hence the need for differential tariffs. However, the industry is disappointed that TRAI has not allowed for a longer time for market forces to play out. Given the extreme nature of competition in Indian markets and the low price points that already exist, a light touch regulatory approach that relied more on market forces would have been desirable,'' said Rajan S Mathews, director general of oepraator's body Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI).
''It is too early to compute the impact on industry revenues at present,'' Mathews added.
Tariffs for national roaming services were last revised in 2013. While formulating the revised tariff regime for national roaming, TRAI had indicated that the new tariff regime will be subject to review after a year.