Telecom operator Idea Cellular today announced free incoming calls on domestic roaming and unveiled international roaming value packs that, it claimed, would prevent "bill shocks" to those travelling abroad. The offers come on the heels of the larger rival Bharti Airtel announcing removal of all roaming charges for outgoing and incoming calls as well as SMSes and data usage within India, to take on competition from newcomer Reliance Jio. "Effective April 1, 2017, Idea's 200 million customers will enjoy free incoming calls while roaming on company's 2G, 3G and 4G network across 400,000 towns and villages in the country.
Idea customers will be able to make outgoing calls, SMS freely at affordable rates while roaming anywhere in India," an Idea release said. It further said mobile data tariffs and data pack benefits of home circle will be available while roaming within India at no extra charge. The facility of free incoming calls on domestic roaming will be extended to both prepaid and postpaid customers. For international travellers, the company is offering international roaming value packs with free bundled usage of up to 400 outgoing minutes, 100 SMSes per day, 3GB bundled data and unlimited incoming calls for Rs 2,499 for Asia, and Rs 5,999 for Europe for 30 days validity.
"These international roaming packs also 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," Idea said. The company said it has done a study of customers' travel destinations, usage patterns and bill shock complaints to design a new range of value packs for select destinations across Europe, Asia, America, UK and Middle East.
"For value conscious customers, the packs start at Rs 1,199 for 10 days validity and go up to Rs 5,999 for 30 days validity, giving up to 85 per cent savings on international roaming charges," it said.
"Idea is now set to enable over 200 million customers to use their mobile phones freely, without having to worry about roaming charges, while they travel anywhere in the country," Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer of Idea Cellular said. On February 27, Bharti Airtel had removed domestic roaming charges on calls and data, and 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 had then said the move will lead to "death of National Roaming" from April 1.