Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Free mobile roaming on payment of a fixed fee and booking of rail tickets through SMS, both the decisions taken last week by the government, has been implemented from Monday.
The most awaited decision of the telecom regulator TRAI to allow free mobile roaming on payment of a fixed fee, which got a green signal last week, begins Monday. The decision also said to reduce national roaming charges for others by up to 57 percent.
TRAI, however, said making national roaming completely free of charges is not practical as of now.
"The authority has decided to reduce the ceiling (upper price for roaming call and SMS rates) across board, permitting telecom providers to issue special tariff voucher and mandating that a roaming plan will be offered (for post paid customers)," TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar said.
The ceilings on roaming charges prescribed by TRAI in 2007 were Rs 1.40 per minute for outgoing local calls and Rs 2.40 per minute for outgoing STD calls.
These ceilings have been reduced to Re 1 per minute for outgoing local calls and Rs 1.50 per minute for outgoing STD calls.
Similarly, the ceiling for incoming calls while on national roaming has been reduced from Rs 1.75 per minute to 75 paise per minute.
The new plans will be among the 25 tariff plans that a company is allowed to offer to its customers.
Meanwhile, Indian railways launched SMS-based ticketing with two dedicated numbers - 139 and 5676714 - for the service on Friday. The service officially begins Monday.
Ticket booking through non-internet based mobile, launched as a pilot project by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will also help Railways overcome the menace of touts who fleece unsuspecting people, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had said.
"In order to give improved customer service and empower the common man who does not have access to internet and cannot afford to buy smart phones, we are launching SMS ticket booking service", Kharge said.
He said the service will particularly be useful for labourers staying away from home as they will find the service convenient as well as cost-effective and they will not have to travel to booking counters and forgo the earnings for a day.
As per the requirement, one has to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as one's bank. The bank provides MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) and OTP (one time password) for authorization of payment.
The passenger has to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box.
The sender will receive transaction ID and then make payment through sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID as received from the bank and password and with this the passenger's ticket is booked.
The service is available to all mobile subscribers and Rs 3 is being charged per SMS and payment gateway charges are Rs 5 for ticket amount upto Rs 5,000 and Rs 10 for more than Rs 5,000.
With PTI Inputs