Singapore, Malaysia to cut roam rates next month

Melissa Chua
21 Apr 2011

Regulators in neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia have successfully concluded talks to reduce roaming tariffs between the two countries.

Travellers residing in either country will see reductions in roaming charges of up to 30% for voice calls and 50% for text messages by May 1 next year, Singapore's IDA revealed. The lower prices will apply across all mobile carriers in Singapore and Malaysia.

The planned price reductions will take place in two phases, with the first rate slash starting May 1 2011. A second rate reduction will take place from May 1 2012.

The reduced tariffs will stem from lower wholesale inter-operator charges with a portion of savings passed on to both post-paid and pre-paid consumers.

Singapore subscribers who receive incoming calls in Malaysia currently pay up to S$1 ($S0.80) per minute – this rate is expected to reach a maximum of S$0.70 per minute by May next year. A text message, which now costs around S$0.60, will cost around S$0.30 next year.

Regulators in Singapore and Malaysia had started talks to probe roaming rates in June last year. Singapore’s minister for information, communication and the arts had said January that plans to lower bilateral roaming rates would take place once operators had confirmed the necessary arrangements.

ASEAN’s ten member countries are exploring the possibility of lowering roaming rates between nations – the agreement between Singapore and Malaysia will the first to take effect.

According to the IDA, both Singapore and Malaysia are currently studying charges for data roaming and ‘reviewing the appropriate actions’.

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