All domestic roaming charges could go in the next three months and mobile users will get incoming calls free of charge and outgoing calls at local rates while travelling anywhere in the country. The Department of Telecom is working out the modalities for waiving roaming charges. All-India mobile number portability is also likely to be implemented by March.
Mobile companies oppose the abolition of roaming tariffs as it will affect their revenues. Operators charge Re 1 per minute for incoming calls and Rs 1.50 per minute for outgoing calls while roaming. SMS is also priced at Rs 1.50 per message.
But before this is implemented, the Department will have to decide on a pan-India unified licensing. This is part of a seven-point plan which the Telecom Ministry wants to implement in the next three months. This plan includes introducing inter-circles mobile number portability. As of now, a mobile user can use number portability services within the same circle. So if a user moves from Delhi to Mumbai and wants to change his operator, he cannot retain the phone number as of now. But once inter-circle MNP is introduced, a user will be able to transfer his phone number to any operator anywhere in the country.