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Tata DoCoMo to bill roaming calls too by the second
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#1
New Delhi, Nov. 21 It’s the death of roaming charges. In yet another game-changing move, Tata DoCoMo is extending to roaming services seconds-based billing that it offers for local calls. Subscribers on Tata DoCoMo’s network moving from one circle to another will soon pay only one paise a second. Incoming calls while roaming will also be charged at the same rate.

Uniform offer

All the other operators currently charge roaming services on a per-minute basis. While these rates are higher than the tariff for local calls, they also vary depending on whether one is calling a subscriber within the same operator’s or on another’s network. The offer from Tata DoCoMo will be uniform irrespective of the location or destination of the call.

Countering Airtel

The company is expected to make an announcement on the new roaming tariff in the next few days, according to sources in the industry. When contacted, a Tata Teleservices spokesperson declined to comment.

The move is aimed at countering Bharti Airtel’s Friday decision to reduce roaming tariffs by 60 per cent. Airtel launched a Turbo plan for roaming facilities charging 60 paise a minute for all incoming calls and between 60 paise and 80 paise a minute for outgoing calls. However, Airtel has made it available only on a single plan for which users will have to pay an upfront fee of Rs 98.

The Tata DoCoMo offer will be available without any upfront cost to the user and will be applicable across all its tariff plans. On the downside, Tata GSM service is available only across 15 circles since the company is yet to roll out in other areas. Tata DoCoMo is expected to complete its roll out in 19 circles by the year-end. Airtel offer on the other hand is available across all the circles in the country.

Taking initiative

Tata DoCoMo was the first to introduce seconds-based billing on local calls. The move ensured that the company got the highest number of new users in the last 3 months. The initiative on the roaming front is expected to trigger the next wave of tariff battle in the mobile segment.

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#2
In a trend generally witnessed in the Indian mobile services space where competition quickly reacts to any competitive move brought in by any of the player, Tata DOCOMO the GSM brand of Tata Teleservices, today countered Bharti Airtel’s move to slash roaming rates by introducing one paisa per second billing for roaming services.

Henceforth subscribers of Tata DOCOMO have an option to make incoming and outgoing local as well as STD calls while on roaming for one paisa per second. The rates will be effective from Monday, November 23, 2009.

“We are delighted to announce yet another industry-defying offer to our subscribers—a transparent and pack-free roaming tariff plan of 1 paisa per second for all incoming & outgoing calls, both local and long distance, to all networks and types of phones (mobile or landline). TATA DOCOMO subscribers will need no special packs or pay any hidden charges to avail this offer,” Mr Deepak Gulati, President, TATA DOCOMO, said. “This is in keeping with our promise to offer innovative and honest services to our subscribers across the country, he added.”

“When a subscriber is roaming, most telecom operators in India charge a minimum of 50-60 paise per minute, even when the call duration is less than a minute. Under the TATA DOCOMOroaming offer, subscribers will be charged only for what he or she uses—at 1 paisa per second. For instance, a 15-second call made or received while roaming will elicit a charge of 15 paise only—not up to Re 1 on a per minute basis, as is the industry norm,” Mr Gulati said.

Reliance Communications meanwhile says that its offer is already better and simpler than any of the competing offers by rivals. IT says its Simply Reliance plan announced last month offers roaming services at a much competitive (read cheaper) rate than Airtel’s offer.

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