The state-run telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will offer free national roaming from June 15, Union minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.
Spectrum sharing and trading policy to go to Cabinet this month and full mobile portability will be given from July, he added. The minister was briefing the media today regarding the achievements of his ministry as part of the programmes to mark the Narendra Modi government's first year in office.
Ever since it came to power, the NDA government has promised free roaming. It was also promised by its predecessor, the UPA government.
Earlier this year, Vodafone and Reliance announced plans to reduce the roaming charges to a minimum. The BSNL was expected to introduce plans for free roaming in January.
In May, BSNL had slashed roaming tariff by up to 40% for its prepaid and postpaid mobile connection following a telecom tariff order issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
The minister said both state-run operators - BSNL and the MTNL - have been showing losses.
In 2004, BSNL showed a profit of Rs 10,000 crore, the minister said. "In 2014, when I took charge, BSNL showed a loss of Rs 7,500 crore. The MTNL was in profit till 2008, when I took charge... it showed losses." But he said MTNL is now on the mend.
Good governance, the minister said, became a casualty "as far as these PSUs are concerned," and those sitting in Sanchar bhavan will have to "apportion blame".