As India’s private telecom operators neglecting the most important policy change under the National Telecom Policy 2012 – the free roaming with ‘One Nation, One Rate‘, state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has diverted from this path and announced free roaming to all its customers in its network between Mumbai and Delhi.
MTNL from 26th January, 2014 will not be charging its prepaid and postpaid customers for incoming calls while roaming in Mumbai and Delhi. Union Minister Kapil Sibal has confirmed this plans for MTNL via his Tweet.
Setting an example for "One Nation, One Rate" – Pleased to announce Free Roaming in Mumbai & Delhi, for MTNL's GSM customers.
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) January 24, 2014
MTNL free roaming plan will benefit around 36 lakh 2G and 3G customers in Mumabi and Delhi telecom circles. Frequent traveling customers between Mumbai and Delhi will be largely benefited by this free roaming plans, as they can enjoy free unlimited incoming calls while on roaming without any sort of plan recharges or STV. Still customers may need to pay for all outgoing calls as per the existing roaming plans.
On the other hand national player Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will be announcing new national roaming plans for its prepaid and postpaid customer, which offers free unlimited incoming calls on roaming for a charge of Rs 1 per day. The new roaming plans will be announced on January 26th, 2014 and benefits around 9.78 crore mobile subscribers under BSNL network pan India.
When compared India’s private telecom operators such as the top three telecom providers Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are charging customers for a monthly or daily fee starting Rs 5 on national roaming packages. The roaming charges came down to this extend after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) announcement on reduction of ceiling price for national roaming calls and SMS.
Merger between MTNL and BSNL?
According to a report from Business Standard, Union Minister Kapil Sibal quoted saying that the ministry is moving towards merging both the state-owned operators, BSNL and MTNL. MTNL offers telecom services in Mumabi and Delhi telecom circle, while BSNL offers pan India telecom service.
“We will take it up with the empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM), which will either be in January or early February, and then take it up with the Cabinet. I hope the synergies between the companies will help the single entity,” said Sibal.
Previous year (2013), Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has re-initiated the move to merge the two telecom entities and had sent a note to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by finance minister P Chidambaram, but the issue was dragged till now. Both sate-owned telecom operators are in a very bad stage as they are losing money from all sides. Due to mismanagement, poor service to customers and internal politics the national telecom operators are strangling to keep up with private operators.