The long cherished dream of doing away with roaming charges within India may be fulfilled next year. However, Telecom Secretary, R Chandrasekhar, in his statement to the Economic Times, shared that there is no telling of the exact date of the execution of the plan. 

In May this year, the Union Cabinet approved the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP 2012) amidst heavy expectations from hopefuls. It also authorised DoT to finalise the new Unified Licensing regime with the approval of Minister of Communications and IT. At the time, it had been decided then that there would be a One Nation, One License policy across services and areas that will effectively eradicate roaming charges. As a result of this, difference between local and STD calls in the country will no longer be prevalent. Abolishing roaming charges certainly looks like the one thing that would appeal to the masses a lot, since those travelling will not have to worry about steep bills.

No more roaming charges!

May be implemented next year (Image credit: Getty Images)

Reportedly, the finance ministry sought a roadmap from the Department of Telecom for the implementation of ‘one nation-free roaming’ plan. Chandrasekhar was quoted as saying, “Our first priority is the upcoming spectrum auctions. At the same time, we are working on the Unified Licence (UL) and we want to finalise this by December. Once the UL regime is rolled out post December, concepts like 'One nation-free roaming' that is part of it will be introduced. This will happen sometime next year (2013). At this stage it will be impossible to specify the exact timeframe.”

The policy aimed to focus on providing secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development. On a related note, the NTP 2012 that was approved this year put forth the following norms:

  • Increase rural teledensity from the current level of around 39 to 70 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020
  • Repositioning of Mobile phone- as an instrument of empowerment
  • Broadband –“'Broadband For All” at a minimum download speed of 2Mbps
  • Domestic Manufacturing- Making India a global hub
  • Convergence of Network, Services and Devices
  • Liberalisation of Spectrum – any Service in any Technology
  • Simplification of Licensing regime- Unified Licensing, delinking of Spectrum from License, Online real time submission and processing
  • Consumer Focus – Achieve One Nation – Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation – Free Roaming
  • Resale of Services
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) 
  • Cloud Computing, Next Generation Network including IPv6

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