NEW DELHI -- Bharti Airtel today announced removal of all roaming charges for outgoing and incoming calls as well as SMSes and data usage within India as it takes on competition from new-comer Reliance Jio.
India's largest mobile phone service provider also said international call rates will be cut by up to 90 per cent to as low as Rs 3 per minute and data charges by up to 99 per cent to Rs 3 per MB across popular roaming destinations.
In a press statement, 'Airtel declares War on Roaming', the company said the move will lead to "death of National Roaming" from 1 April.
Also, it 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. "Bill shocks will now be a thing of the past."
Starting 1 April, Airtel customers roaming within India will enjoy free incoming calls and SMSes and there will be no premium on outgoing calls, allowing them to speak freely wherever they are within the country.
Also, there will be no additional data charges on national roaming. Home data packs for customers will apply even while they roam across India.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said: "This marks the death of national roaming and the whole country will now be like a local network for our customers, who will not have to think twice before making or receiving calls or using data while travelling outside their home base. Airtel has again set the benchmark in delivering best in class value backed by a great network experience."
For international roaming, Airtel said it has already launched innovative and affordable International Roaming packs for all major countries across the world.
These packs come with convenient validity options of 1 day, 10 days, and 30 days.
"Starting 1 April, 2017, even customers on international roaming 'Without a (roaming) Pack will be fully protected from bill shocks through an automatic adjustment that is equal to the daily pack for that particular country.
"This means that the moment a customer's billing reaches the price of a one day pack for the country, he/she will be automatically moved to that pack," it said.
Even post the exhaustion of pack benefits, customers will continue to enjoy extremely attractive rates for calling and data usage.
"Call Charges have been reduced by up to 90 per cent to as low as Rs 3 per minute and data charges by up to 99 per cent to Rs 3 per MB across popular roaming destinations," the statement said.
Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said: "At Airtel, we are changing the international roaming paradigm, which will allow our customers to take their number to every corner of the world. As an industry, operators across the world must collaborate to remove the cost barrier to roaming and offer customers the convenience of staying connected without the fear of exorbitant bill charges."
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