Sunil Bharti Mittal’s call to end roaming charges finds support in China

By: | Published: March 6, 2017 9:59 PM

GSM Association Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal's call to end roaming charges has found support from Chinese telecom operators who reportedly plan to eliminate domestic roaming fees.

Mittal, the founder of Indian telecom major Bhart Airtel, has called for lowering or putting an end to roaming charges to prevent customers from bill shocks. (Reuters)

GSM Association Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal’s call to end roaming charges has found support from Chinese telecom operators who reportedly plan to eliminate domestic roaming fees. “We are extremely delighted that GSMA’s call to bring an end to domestic roaming fees has received resounding support from the leading operators in China, the largest telecom market in the world,” Mittal said in a statement.

Mittal, the founder of Indian telecom major Bhart Airtel, has called for lowering or putting an end to roaming charges to prevent customers from bill shocks.

GSMA is a global association of telecom operators and Mittal is heading the body at present.

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“The plan to eliminate domestic roaming fees will not just promote customer convenience by ending ‘bill shocks’ but help boost usage by customers through adoption of network technologies to augment productivity, innovation and economic growth. We are sure operators in other countries will take the cue from China’s example to usher in similar initiatives, in the interest of the customers,” Mittal said.

Three state-owned Chinese mobile operators — China Telecommunications Corp, China Mobile Communications Corp and China United Network Communications Group Ltd — have reportedly said that they will end inter-province roaming fees by October.

Airtel has announced that there will be no premium on outgoing calls for customers roaming within India and they will enjoy free incoming calls and SMSs from April 1.

Also, there will be no additional data charges on national roaming. Home data packs for customers will apply even while they roam across India.

Even for international roaming, Airtel will migrate its customer travelling abroad in to special schemes that allow them to make and receive calls at discounted rates from April 1. The migration will happen automatically after subscriber’s spending on mobile phone calls, SMS or data reaches close to subscription pack rate.

Mittal has earlier said that during his tenure as chairman of GSMA he will work with all operators to reduce drastically international roaming charges and protect consumers from bill shocks.

“In international roaming we have made move. You will see during my term, we have already given our announcement. We are down by over 90 per cent from April 1. Trend will start to pick. During my rule international roaming will be thing of the past,” Mittal said.

He added that though there will be some extra charge that people will pay in per day packs but “gone are the days of high bill shocks and atrociously high tariff that roaming currently has”.

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