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Can international roaming rates be reduced to zero: Airtel’s Sunil Mittal’s call for scrapping roaming charges
Ashish Sharma |  New Delhi |  07 Mar 2017

GSMA chairman Sunil Mittal’s call for scrapping roaming charges has found support the three national Telcos in China. China Telecommunications Corp, China Mobile Communications Corp and China United Network Communications Group Ltd will end inter-province roaming fees by October, said the chairmen of the three firms in Beijing.

Airtel had earlier announced that it would scrap roaming charges in India.

However, the big question is – Will there be any taker for Mittal’s appeal for doing away with international roaming? May be not now. Telcos can’t ignore the fact that large number of international travellers now use OTT Apps like Skype and WhatsApp to make international calls. This has already denied Operators potential revenue.

These players could flourish only because of high roaming rates. If the roaming rates were low, travellers would have used ordinary phones to make calls. In the case of international roaming, there is not much additional cost to the Operators. Therefore, there is no reason for the Telcos to continue with international roaming charges.

“It is time that I call upon the entire fraternity of the telecom sector to come together to kill the international roaming tariffs that are presently prevalent. It is time that we put minds of customers at ease,” Mittal had said in Barcelona.

“We are truly making the world connected. There is no reason for us not to put our minds together to create a situation where customers can safely use their mobile phones both for calling as well as data anywhere in the world,” he said.

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07 Mar 2017(IST)  
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