No roaming charges from 2013: Sibal

No roaming charges from 2013: Sibal

* New telecom policy to facilitate consolidation

In a good news for mobile phone users,the government today announced that subscribers will not have to pay roaming charges from next year. This announcement is a part of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012,approved by the government in May.

“Our secretary has told you that it (roaming out of the circle) will be free from next year,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said here in response to a query on the timing of removing roaming charges.

At present,using mobile phone services out of ones telecom circle attracts around 50 per cent higher tariff on outgoing calls and one also has to pay for incoming calls.

NTP 2012 aims to allow mobile phone users to use same number across country without paying extra charges.


The policy also introduces a national mobile permit that will enable operators to offer all communication services under one licence,allow operators to share and trade spectrum and facilitate consolidation in the sector that has over a dozen players now. It also eases norms for mergers and acquisitions.

Sibal said that there would be no restrictions whatsoever on the use of internet. The minister,who was addressing a curtain raiser ceremony of ‘India Internet Governance Conference (IIGC)’ to be held in October in New Delhi,appealed to stakeholders to help evolve a consensus so that a clear-cut roadmap could be developed for the sector.

Telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar said the Department of Telecom (DoT) is working on Notice Inviting Applications for spectrum auction after which it will work on unified licence (UL) guidelines — also a part of the NTP 2012.

“We are first going to attend to all issues linked to auction. The moment NIA is issued this week,we will focus on UL. After details of full UL is worked out,the modalities for free roaming will follow,” he said. According to the auction schedule,NIA will be issued on September 28.