Tuesday , 22 May 2018
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Amid tariff crash, summer break to bring fall in global roaming rates – Economic Times

Amid tariff crash, summer break to bring fall in global roaming rates – Economic Times


MUMBAI:It’s a bonanza for overseas travellers with mobile phone companies and SIM card providers all set to woo them ahead of the summer break. Reliance Jio Infocomm set the cat among the pigeons with rock-bottom international roaming rates.

The offers this time go beyond regular tariff plans. On the anvil are tailor-made data packages that can go as high as 50GB, bargains at tourist hubs, opportunities to make your own perfume, interact with a global fashion designer and go on shopping expeditions. Also included are connectivity in offbeat destinations.

Since local rates dipped severely owing to tariff wars, SIM card providers and telcos realised the need to retain the overseas traveller, who is part of the higher revenue-generating bracket. With people using more data on their travels, the operators want their customers to opt for the special tariff packs even if free Wi-Fi is available, experts said.

Jio introduced international packs for post-paid customers starting at Rs. 2 each per minute of voice, per MB of data and per text message in the US and UK and Rs. 10 each for some other countries. Experts said they expect Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and SIM card provider Matrix to respond with similar offers.

“Customer behaviour on mobile usage while travelling has changed and it is imperative for us to also start offering made-tomeasure solutions,” said Gagan Dugal, founder of Matrix.

According to analysts, the international roaming segment has grown at a compounded rate of 15% over the past two years and is expected to expand by another 15% in about two years.

A client who used 5 GB data last year is opting for 50 GB this year, said Dugal. A customer who took a 1 GB plan for Rs. 1,000 last year will get 50 GB at Rs. 2,999 this year.

To woo customers from operators and get them on to Matrix, it has come up with a ‘By Appointment’ plan, which allows travellers to sit at a Michelin Star chef ’s table, have a one-on-one with an acclaimed fashion designer and indulge in curated taxfree shopping, among others.

Idea’s packs will be available in 65 countries compared with 30 last summer. Instead of 300 MB of free data, customers will now get 500 MB to 2.5 GB. Number of free calls has been increased to 500 from 100, depending on price pack.

“More customers are opting for these (international roaming) packs while traveling around the world to always stay connected without worrying about bill shocks,” said Vani Venkatesh, chief marketing officer of Bharti Airtel. The market leader has added 50 countries to its list from last year, including Vietnam, Egypt, Morocco, Iceland, Palestine, Laos and Mongolia.

Vodafone India has bundled plans for about 40 new countries this summer, a departure from its previously fixed rates. The second-largest operator’s offers for international travellers is through i-Roam free packs, introduced last year, which had tariffs ranging from Rs. 5,000 for 28 days to Rs. 500 for 24 hours in 20 countries.

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