Mobile phone customers in India have another reason to cheer as three major service providers on Friday said they were cutting such tariff significantly for their post-paid subscribers.
Within a week of announcing a 70-per cent cut in roaming tariff, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd said it was offering free roaming for its post-paid customers under two plans with immediate effect.
The state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), on Monday said they were also slashing their roaming charges with effect from June 3, along with affordable local charges while using the phones in other cities.
The launch date of BSNL and MTNL for their new tariff plans has been chosen to coincide with the birthday of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who is also Communications Minister A Raja's party president.
Free roaming was among the major bonanzas promised by Raja's predecessor in the communications ministry Dayanidhi Maran who had to quit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet, following differences with the DMK chief.
Under the new plan of the two state-run firms, customers with post-paid monthly tariff of Rs 550 can get free roaming of up to five hours a month on the entire network that spans from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Dwaraka to Dibrugarh.
Reliance's 'India Roam Free Plan 390' offers 200 free minutes of incoming calls while roaming with outgoing calls inviting a tariff of 40 paise and local calls a little higher at Re 1. The monthly charges are Rs 390.
The company's 'India Roam Free Plan 990' offers a subscriber 1,300 minutes of free roaming talk-time, distributed over 900 minutes of incoming calls while roaming and 400 minutes of free local calling. The monthly charges are Rs 990.
A tariff of 50 paise per local calls and Re 1 for outstation calls will also be applicable, the company announced. "Pre-paid roaming-friendly options are also available on recharge vouchers of Rs 770 and Rs 520," the company added.
MTNL and BSNL said their plans would benefit frequent travellers, particularly those who roam out of Delhi or Mumbai to BSNL areas. Migration from other plans to the latest plan would be permitted on request from June 3, they added.
"The scheme will also be open to all BSNL's Cellone customers who can avail it without additional charges," the company's chairman and managing director AK Sinha told a joint press conference with his MTNL counterpart RSP Sinha.
"Our specially designed roaming freedom plan will provide freedom from roaming charges for Dolphin GSM post-paid customers all over India on the BSNL network," Sinha added.