New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI will allow free mobile roaming on payment of a fixed fee from Monday and will also 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 told reporters here.
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.
Khullar said operators have been mandated to provide two types of roaming plan for customers.
"In one case, charges on incoming will be free but a fix charge will be levied and in the other regime you don't give free incoming and there will be no fixed charges. The philosophy of authority is let customers decide what they want...Competition in the market will help in driving tariffs down," he said.
The new plans will be among the 25 tariff plans that a company is allowed to offer to its customers.
"The essential idea of free roaming is that roaming tariff should be equal to home tariff (when customer is not roaming).... The short point which we want to make is fully free roaming ... Is not practical," he said.
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had earlier said that free national roaming would be implemented by October.