Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to allow free roaming facility to its Cellular phone subscribers of the North Eastern Region (NER) to roam in Assam and vice versa as per the certain terms and conditions, in the interest of the cellular phone users as demanded by certain Non-Government Organizations, including one Guwahati based Himalaya Parivar.
The outgoing calls, SMS and data of charges, while roaming will be charged as per home tariff. Incoming calls while roaming will be free. The calls and SMS charges between two Licensed Service Areas (LSAs) will be treated as local, while other terms and conditions will remain unchanged. This revision will be applicable with effect from September 1, 2009.
It is worth mentioning in this context that the Non-Government Organization, Himalaya Parivar of Guwahati approached the Union Minister for Communication and IT, New Delhi, on December 10, 2008 with a memorandum to consider the problems of cell phone subscribers within the area of North Eastern Region. The memorandum revealed that the North Eastern Region of India comprises of seven states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura. Most of these states are born out of Assam and are badly underdeveloped in comparison to rest of the country. The NGO pleaded that these states are located in the same geographical area with difficult topographical conditions. Due to bad topography the access from one state to another in the region by road is always through Assam. The travelling from one place to another within the Hill states is mostly through Assam or involving a neighboring state.
Himalaya Parivar urged the Union Minister to consider the problems of the cell phone users of Northeastern states favorably and bring the entire North Eastern zone under one local area network without roaming. The NGO delegates also requested the minister that the mobile billing server for consumers of North Eastern states, presently situated at Kolkata should be shifted to Guwahati. The Call Data Rate (CDR) billing server installed at Kolkata should be replaced with Dot soft technology and be installed at Guwahati at the earliest.
The convener of the organization Shiladitya Dev interacting with media persons in Guwahati also regretted that the practice of disconnection cell phones by BSNL due to nonpayment of bills on the weekends puts the subscribers to a lot of harassments. Therefore, the NGO demanded that this practice should be changed in order to provide better service to the cell phone users, so that they could get their phones activated immediately. However, he appreciated the necessary action taken by the BSNL in favor of the cell phone subscribers of the region.