New Delhi: Telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Tata and Aircel have asked the telecom regulator not to put any cap on roaming charges for video calls on mobile as it is still in a nascent stage.
“Video calling is at a very nascent stage in the Indian telecom sector. Thus, it would be too premature to prescribe any tariff for video calls. We believe that the tariffs for video calls should be left to the market forces and let the competition decides the tariff,” said Bharti Airtel to Trai.
Idea Cellular said that video calls form a minuscule component of the overall quantum of calls and therefore, need to be viewed by Trai as a premium nascent service availed of by a select set of high-end customers.
“Further, Trai should take cognisance of the fact that the 3G spectrum that facilitates such calls has been acquired at a steep price and hence, any tariff prescriptions at this stage would undermine the huge investments made to actualise the service. We would thus recommend to Trai to keep tariffs for video calling out of the purview of the current proposed review exercise,” said Idea Cellular.
Opposing any cap on roaming tariffs for video calls, Tata Teleservices said that the amount of network resource involved in terminating a video call is significant vis-a-vis terminating a basic voice call.
Telecom regulator Trai has come out with a pre-consultation paper to seek the views of the stakeholders on various issues which could rise by making roaming free. This paper is also looking at whether Trai should prescribe a tariff for video calls during roaming. Currently Trai does not specifically prescribe the tariff for video calls during roaming.
Service providers have recently started offering video calls while roaming.
“It would be too premature to prescribe any tariff for video calls. Moreover, video calls are being given over 3G network and the charge for this spectrum was very much higher than that for contemporary voice calls. Therefore, we conclude that the roaming tariffs for video calls should be kept under forbearance, ”said Aircel.