TRAI has set the ceiling for outgoing local voice calls on roaming at 80p per minute and reduced the calling rate to Rs 1.15/min for outgoing national long distance calls

New Delhi : Starting next month, mobile calls while in roaming will be cheaper by up to 23 per cent, while sending a local SMS will cost only 25 paise, a steep cut of 75 per cent from the present Re 1, as regulator TRAI has slashed ceiling tariffs.

However, following TRAI order, subscribers will not be able to avail of schemes that allowed them to make calls and send SMSes while in roaming at home circle rates.

“TRAI has reduced ceiling tariffs for national roaming calls and SMS and has mandated telecom service providers to offer a special roaming tariff plan,” TRAI said in a statement. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has cut the maximum or ceiling rate that a telecom operator can charge for STD calls on roaming to Rs 1.15 per minute from Rs 1.5.

Similarly, national SMS rate has been reduced to 38 paise from Rs 1.5 per SMS. Also, an operator can charge a maximum of 25 paise only for a local SMS instead of the current Re 1 per SMS.

Under the revised tariff, a telecom operator can charge a maximum of 80 paise per minute for a local call instead of Re 1 permitted at present.

Reacting to the revised tariff, industry body COAI’s Director General Rajan S Mathews said that revision in roaming rates should have been left to market forces. He, however, added that “I am glad that the Authority differentiated between local and roaming rates becuase it recognised that there is an STD interconnect charges component which has to be recovered”.

As per the existing framework for telecom access services, the country has been divided into 22 licensed service areas.

On the other hand, in a blow to consumers, the regulator has removed the roaming tariff plan, RTP and RTP-FR, under which the consumer paid the same charges as his home circle or service area while in roaming.

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