Travellers rejoice as int’l roaming rates slashed

Rujuta Parekh
Wednesday, 14 June 2017

PUNE: The ongoing price wars among telecommunication service providers have been a boon for customers, who now have unlimited access to data and voice at affordable prices. 

PUNE: The ongoing price wars among telecommunication service providers have been a boon for customers, who now have unlimited access to data and voice at affordable prices. 

This is now going to benefit customers who go abroad regularly as service providers have begun offering attractive international roaming packages - bringing down the international roaming costs manifold in the process. While internationally touring customers once incurred exorbitant charges during their business or leisure trips in foreign countries, they will now have to pay nearly 60 to 90 per cent less and enjoy unlimited free incoming calls, outgoing calls as well as data. 

Speaking of the packages offered by Airtel, sources from the company said, “We have a one-day international roaming (IR) pack for very short international trips for as low as Rs 499. There is a 10-day IR pack for short trips/vacation travellers starting at Rs 1,199 and a 30-day IR pack which offers connectivity through long duration trips starting at Rs 2,499. The packs offer loads of benefits including free incoming calls/SMS, calling minutes and messages both to India and the local country as well as data to stay online.”

Likewise, Idea has come out with similar packs ranging from Rs 599 to Rs 5,999 offering different validity periods, data, local calls and calls to India.

Customers will also get benefits such as unlimited free incoming calls, free outgoing messages and others. The packages costs differ for different countries. 

Speaking to Sakal Times, the Airtel official said, “The international traveller had to activate international roaming facility to stay connected at flat rates that differed for various countries. Customers incurred expenses of Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 on international roaming. We have even seen bills as high as Rs one to 1.5 lakh at times due to international roaming. In light of this, we have partnered with local service providers in various countries to offer bundled packages at flat rates offering free incoming, outgoing, messaging and data facilities as low as Rs 499.”

The official said that international travel is increasing at a rate of nearly 10 per cent year on year and telecom operators are looking at simplifying the process of international roaming, which had different flat rates for different countries. 

“The biggest benefit to the ever increasing number of the travelling customers is that they can stay connected at all times and do not have to wait for the airport or hotel Wi-Fi. Also, the packages offered provide a lot of convenience and comfort due to auto-activation and auto-renewal features. There is also no element of shock on seeing the phone bills as there are pre-set packages available at flat rates,” he added. 

Adding about Airtel, the official said that Airtel has forged 600 alliances with operators from 250 countries in an effort to provide complete connectivity. 

- International roaming charges have come down by almost 60-90 per cent. 
- The packages have also been devised keeping in mind various types of travellers and range from one-day packages to month long packages.
- International roaming bills have often run into lakhs. Now, customers can purchase packages offered by various telecom service providers at as low as Rs 499.

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