If judged by the criterion of relative ease of electronic connectivity within the region as against outside, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a failure. If SAARC is real, prices for intra-SAARC calls must be lower than for calls to points outside SAARC. Roaming within the region should be cheaper and less opaque than outside the region. Both are not so, despite some improvements since 2008 says LIRNEasia, a regional think-tank.
A SAARC citizen may pay between USD 0.31 and USD 3.29 to make a local call while roaming within the region. The highest cost is paid by Maldivian roaming in number of SAARC countries, and the lowest is for an Indian roaming in Maldives. Using a local pre-paid SIM from the visiting country to make a local off-net call is more cost effective. Instead of USD 3.29, the Maldivian roaming in Bangladesh would have to pay only USD 0.01 – 345 times less than the roaming tariff.
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