international roaming Archives — LIRNEasia

I am now in Washington DC. A familiar city, but not familiar enough. So many times I feel like using Google maps to orient myself. But then I am reminded of previous bill shocks and desist. I want to use a service; I am willing to pay for it, even with a reasonable premium.

Ideas from Africa for South Asia

Posted on April 15, 2009  /  0 Comments

Ideas picked up at Euro CPR from our African colleagues, coming out in multiple fora/countries/forms. Without direct government action, other than enabling policies such as the abolition of international gateway monopolies, and the kind of fuss that has accompanied the regulation of roaming charges within Europe, roaming has been abolished in East Africa. Why not in South Asia? Why can this not be done in South Asia? Telenor has a presence in three of the major markets in the SAARC region: dominant in Bangladesh; significant in Pakistan and getting established in India.
Last month at the GSM Asia Pacific conference in Colombo, LIRNEasia’s Helani Galpaya presented some evidence on the way roaming charges have evolved in the region. She showed that overall South Asia’s roaming charges were higher than those in South East Asia and that South Asian operators also seemed to discriminate among visitors from different countries more. This research has, finally, been picked up and publicized, along with a statement from Rohan Samarajiva that bringing down intra-SAARC international voice telephone charges is a higher priority. This same statement was made at a SAARC Chamber of Commerce seminar, where LIRNEasia offered to provide the data to the national Chambers of Commerce so that they could increase the transparency of the roaming market, one of the most opaque. Knowing full well the weaknesses of regulation and the higher-priority tasks before the region’s regulatory agencies, LIRNEasia takes the position that the region’s operators should work together to come up with a reasonable regime for international roaming that allows customers to know what they are getting into when they make or receive a call/SMS while away from their countries.