Indian government is planning to remove roaming charges for mobiles phones across India from next year, reports PTI (via IBNLive). This announcement was made by the Telecom minister Kapil Sibal at a media event in New Delhi.

National Telecom Policy 2012: Abolition of roaming charges was first proposed in the draft National Telecom Policy 2011 (NTP 2011), proposed by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in October 2011. Back then, DoT had proposed reviewing of roaming charges with an objective of removing it across the country, in a bid to create a One Nation One License system across services and service areas.

In addition, DoT had also stated that it would enable the government to extend Intra-circle mobile number portability facility on nationwide basis so that the users can retain their mobile number while shifting from one service area to another, irrespective of the service provider. After a wait of around eight months, the Union Cabinet had approved the National Telecom Policy (NTP 2012), which intends to provide free roaming to mobile phone subscribers, by removing the roaming charges across the nation.

COAI’s response: While Rajan S Mathews, Director General – COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) acknowledged the free roaming initiative in an interview to the publication, he pointed out that the details of how this initiative will be implemented is yet to be seen. He also hoped that TRAI (Telecom regulatory Authority of India) will soon release a consultation paper which will lay down the regulator’s expectations and detail the tariff structures TRAI intends to use to offer nationwide roaming for mobile phone subscribers in the country.

Our coverage of the National Telecom Policy 2012: 

India’s New Telecom Policy 2012: What’s Changed? Additions & Omissions
India’s New National Telecom Policy Approved; Unified Service Licenses, Intra-Circle MNP, Spectrum Reforms

Our Take on the DoT Recommendations in the Draft National Telecom Policy 2011:

– Draft New Telecom Policy 2011: Broadband Related Provisions & Issues Not Addressed
– India’s Draft New Telecom Policy 2011: The Policy That Could Change India’s Digital Business Forever
– India’s Draft National Telecom Policy 2011: What’s In It For Startups, Content & Service Providers
– India’s Draft National Telecom Policy 2011: On Licensing, Regulation, Convergence, Spectrum And Manufacturing