Vodafone, Airtel sweeten international roaming plans

Offer cheaper international roaming, with incoming calls made free, outgoing at home rates; data benefits thrown in as well

Moulishree Srivastava Mumbai

Airtel and Vodafone are rolling out cheaper and more flexible international roaming plans for high-value subscribers.

Vodafone last week came out with a daily international roaming plan for its prepaid and postpaid users that allows them to use their home numbers at local rates while travelling in over 30 countries. The benefits include free incoming calls, outgoing calls at Rs 1 a minute and data at Rs 1 per MB for a daily rental of Rs 500.

This follows Airtel’s launch of international roaming plans for postpaid users in April that entailed free incoming calls and data benefits. Airtel Smart Packs, available in the US, the UK, the UAE, Thailand and Singapore, offer limited free outgoing calls to India for rentals ranging from Rs 2,499 to Rs 4,999, depending on the country. With free outgoing calls to India and within the prescribed data limit, subscribers are charged Rs 10 a minute and Rs 10 per MB.

On Airtel’s other international roaming plans the charges are Rs 19 a minute for incoming calls after a limited number of free minutes, Rs 39 a minute for outgoing calls, Rs  39 per MB of data and Rs 15 per SMS. Vodafone’s international roaming plans have standard charges for incoming at Rs 30 per minute after a limited number of free minutes, data at Rs 30 per MB, outgoing calls at Rs 30 a minute and SMS at Rs 15 each.

“Calling and data access while travelling abroad was a big concern for subscribers. We wanted to make this simple,” said Sandeep Kataria, director, commercial, Vodafone India.

“People are frequently travelling for business for two or three days. We offer this plan in most business and leisure destinations that Indians frequent,” he added.

Over 20 million Indians travelled abroad in 2015, up 11.1 per cent from a year ago, according to the tourism ministry.

Vodafone, Airtel sweeten international roaming plans Kataria said the company was better placed to negotiate tariffs for international travellers because of the global presence of the Vodafone group. Last year, Vodafone introduced a similar plan for Europe, which received good response. “We have already tested it in Europe and we expect it to pick up in India,” Kataria said.

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First Published: Sep 03 2016 | 10:50 PM IST

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