Airtel ends roaming charges on calls and data to take on Reliance Jio

A Bharti Airtel office building is pictured in Gurugram. Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 27, 2017, 11.16 AM (IST)

Bharti Airtel announced the removal of all roaming charges for outgoing and incoming calls as well as SMSs 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.

Starting April 1, Airtel customers roaming within India will enjoy free incoming calls and SMSs 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.

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," a press note from Aitel said. "Bill shocks will now be a thing of the past."

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.

Even post the exhaustion of pack benefits, customers will continue to enjoy extremely attractive rates for calling and data usage.

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."