Airtel to remove all roaming charges from April 1 to compete with Reliance Jio

Airtel to remove all roaming charges from April 1 to compete with Reliance Jio
Representational Image. Courtesy: Businessworld.in

Bharti Airtel on Monday announced removal of all roaming charges for outgoing and incoming calls as well as SMSes and data usage within India from April 1, as it takes on competition from the latest entrant in the telecom space – Reliance Jio.

India’s largest mobile phone service provider also said international call rates will be cut by up to 90 percent to as low as INR 3 per minute and data charges by up to 99 percent to INR 3 per MB across popular roaming destinations.

“Today we have a global network that works everywhere in the world – in the farthest of remote areas of sub-Sahara and the Himalayas, using the same handset,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, Airtel Chairman, said during his keynote address at the Mobile World Congress.

“Yet, 55 percent of people in the developed world switch off mobile data while roaming. My estimated guess is that about 90 percent of travellers from the emerging markets switch off their mobile data, perhaps even voice when they travel,” he added.

In a statement issued after his speech, Airtel said the roaming charges would be dropped from April 1.

“Airtel customers roaming within India will enjoy free incoming calls/SMS and there will be no premium on outgoing call…There will be no additional data charges on national roaming. Home data packs for customers will apply even while they roam across India,” the company said.

It also said there will be no bill shocks while roaming overseas daily billing will be automatically adjusted to the price of basic one day pack even for customers who don’t buy a roaming pack.

“With this, Airtel mobile customers will be able to carry their numbers across India and the world and stay connected all the time without having to worry about high call/data charges,” it said.

The announcement comes days after Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio announced its tariff plan, under which all voice calls within the country are free. Since its commercial launch in September 2016, Jio has acquired 100 million users.

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