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Airtel Discontinues International Roaming Activation Fee to Counter Reliance Jio

Taking on Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel has discontinued international roaming activation fee for all its subscribers. The telco prior to the new development was charging Rs. 99 as an international roaming activation fee. In contrast, Reliance Jio isn’t charging any international roaming charges for a long time. The new development emerges months after Airtel launched its ‘Foreign Pass’ international roaming voice packs starting at Rs. 196. The packs brought benefits such as free incoming calls, SMS messages, and calling minutes for outgoing calls to both India and local country.

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal announced the discontinuation of the international roaming activation fee in an email sent to postpaid subscribers, a copy of which is with Gadgets 360. “We’ve decided to do away with international roaming activation fee for all our customers,” Vittal wrote in the email. “We believe that staying connected with your loved ones should not be disrupted by borders, which is why starting today, you will no longer have to pay to keep your number active when you are travelling abroad.”

Vittal also mentioned in his email that Airtel currently offers its international roaming with telecom partnerships in 175 countries around the globe. The operator also has Smart International Roaming packs that get auto-applied when subscribers exceed the daily usage criteria.

Airtel was previously levying a monthly charge of Rs. 99 for prepaid subscribers opting for its international roaming, whereas postpaid subscribers were required to pick an international roaming plan to avail network access abroad. But, with the new move, there won’t be any charges for accessing an Airtel network internationally. It is, however, worth pointing out that users will be charged for making outgoing calls, accessing data, or sending SMS messages.

In May last year, Reliance Jio announced its Rs. 199 postpaid plan that brought an easy, “one-click” activation of international roaming – without any additional activation charges. The operator also offers International calling (ISD) at an as low charge as Rs. 0.50 per minute.

Airtel last year launched its Foreign Pass international roaming voice packs to take on the international roaming packs being offered by Reliance Jio. The Foreign Pass packs come at Rs. 196 for 20 minutes of voice calling, followed by Rs. 296 for 40 minutes and Rs. 446 for 75 minutes. Alongside voice calling minutes to both India and the local country, the operator offers free incoming calls and SMS messages.

Folks at TelecomTalk first reported the discontinuation of the international roaming activation fee by Airtel.

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