The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its consultation paper on “Review of Tariff for National Roaming”. In its statement, the body states that the last time the National Roaming Services tariff was specified was through the Telecommunication Tariff Order (44th Amendment) on January 24, 2007. 

By way of the consultation paper, TRAI looks at the good and bad sides to the different methods of regulating tariffs for national roaming. It looks at the concept of free national roaming that was cited in the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP 2012) and provides a detailed impact analysis. 

In December last year, TRAI released a pre-consultation paper on “Review of Tariff for National Roaming”, clearly indicating that one of the first steps towards ensuring free roaming in the country by next year has been taken. By way of  its pre-consultation paper, the regulatory body has sought inputs from stakeholders on fixing tariff for National Roaming services, allowing it to draw an elaborate consultation paper. With this, TRAI has sought views of the stakeholders on several aspects of the National Roaming Services – cost components, manner of recovery of cost in case incoming calls are made free, tariff for video calls and SMS while on roaming, need for permitting Special Tariff Vouchers for roaming subscribers et al. TRAI had uploaded the pre-consultation paper on “Review of Tariff for National Roaming” on its website. Stakeholders were asked to offer their written comments on the issues stated in the paper by January 17, 2013. 

Consumers may have to bear the brunt

Seeking stakeholder views (Image credit: Getty Images)

Revoking roaming charges across the country is easily the most highlighted aspect of the NTP. Recent reports suggested that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to ask operators to implement free roaming across the nation by March 2013. This bit of information comes in as the latest after the telecom department announced its plans pertaining to free roaming earlier this year. 

TRAI’s consultation paper also seeks stakeholder views on tariff regime for video calls and SMS on national roaming and if they should allow Special Tariff Vouchers (STVs) for national roaming service.  Stakeholders can offer their written comments on the issues stated in the paper by March 18, 2013. 

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