The country’s third-largest telecom operator, Idea Cellular, has decided to make incoming calls on national roaming free effective April 1.This facility will be available on both prepaid and postpaid connections across 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
This move is seen as an attempt to tackle a similar offer made by Reliance Jio on February 21. Bharti Airtel too had announced free incoming and outgoing roaming calls as well as SMSes last month.
"Effective April 1, 2017, Idea’s 200 million customers will enjoy free incoming calls while roaming on the company’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks across 400,000 towns and villages in the country,” a statement Idea read.
Idea also slashed rates for outgoing calls, besides launching value packs for roaming outside India, which will bring costs down by as much as 85%. For subscribers travelling abroad, the company said it will offer bundled usage of up to 400 outgoing minutes, 100 SMS per day, large data volume and unlimited incoming calls.
These international roaming packs will come bundled with free 1GB/2GB/3GB data and overage charges as low as Rs 3 per MB to avoid "bill shock” to travelling customers, said the company in a statement.
Incoming roaming charges for Idea subscribers is Rs 0.45 per minute at present. For outgoing calls, roaming charge on local calls is Rs 0.80 per minute, while for STD calls, it is Rs 1.15 per minute. The firm has announced that outgoing calls and SMS, while on roaming, will become more affordable.
For Idea subscribers, the packs start at Rs 1,199 for 10 days’ validity and go up to Rs 5,999 for 30 days’ validity, offering up to 85% savings on international roaming charges.
The firm said it conducted an extensive study of customer’s travel destinations, usage patterns and bill shock complaints to design a new range of value packs for handpicked destinations across Europe (15 countries), Asia (9 countries), America (the US + Canada), the UK (UK + Ireland) and the West Asia (the UAE).