Why Mobile Operators Oppose Free Romaing / Uniform PAN India Pricing?
The current structure of Voice Calls in India is differently priced across all the 22 circles as affordability varies in each market. Further spectrum costs in each market are different and are a key criterion for setting their tariffs as well. Even though the headline rates are common across operators on a nationwide basis, there is widespread use of special tariff vouchers. The extent of discounting via special tariff vouchers determines the difference between the national headline tariffs and local tariffs as illustrated here for Idea Cellular.
The Scam Scarred Congress Government which is greedy for power is likely to take a populist measure around the time of next general elections to make India One Plan a Reality without understanding the ground realities of the Telecommunications sector.
Mobile operators have a point in opposing the proposed regulation where wholesale roaming charges are set by the regulator at below the actual cost of providing the service will be significantly positive for Regional players. Regional operators in such a scenario will have no case for investing in spectrum in metros and quasi metros and just operate out of markets where spectrum is very cheap and yet run a pan-India service by just having regional presence. This will further discourage participation in spectrum auctions and not allow government to reduce its budget deficits.
What about My Proposal to TRAI for Making On-Net Incoming Roaming Free ?
Discussing Mobile Operators stand doesn’t negate my view where PAN India Operators like Airtel, Vodafone, etc must be made to offer On-Net Incoming Calls Free while roaming as they incur no call termination costs; The Spectrum cost may add if consumer roams into a metro but that should be overlooked as a matter of service to a loyal customer.
It is very unfortunate that Policy Decisions by the Government are influenced mainly by acts like that of 2G Scam and the Progress of the Nation is stalled by a select few crooks including some businessmen.