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Plan to cut roaming tariffs across South Asia in the works

International travellers across South Asian countries could look forward to a sharp cut in their roaming bills in the New Year. The telecom regulators of the South Asian countries are expected to bring out a proposal by December to cut down high roaming charges for subscribers travelling between member nations, Economic Times of India reported yesterday.


It said: A committee of the South Asian Telecommunication Regulatory Council (Satrc) is studying intra-region roaming rates being offered by various service providers in 11 countries. The regulatory initiative, if allowed, would help mobile subscribers of countries such as Afghanistan, India, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka to avoid bill shocks while travelling within the region.


“Roaming tariff reduction is one of the issues among other things that are being deliberated within the Satrc,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Secretary Sunil K Gupta told ET, adding that a concrete guideline may emerge by December.


The regulatory council of South Asian nations takes up bilateral as well as other issues such as cross-border interference, radio frequency coordination, technology standards, and related trends and challenges as a part of its action plan.


“A proposal will be given to telecom regulators by a designated Satrc committee that would ultimately lead to a final decision on the roaming charges,” the Trai official said.


The telecom regulators of the South Asian nations are meeting at Kathmandu in Nepal by December end, and during a three-day summit, would discuss regional roaming charges among other issues.


Currently, data is being collected from 11 countries, according to Gupta, who added that the council would analyse and see what could be done to lessen roaming tariff for subscribers travelling within the South Asian countries.


The European Union (EU) had in June this year abolished extra roaming charges for subscribers travelling within member countries, following nearly a decade-long deliberations.

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