Telecom wars: Bharti Airtel, RCom, Aircel clash over SMSes

Your greetings to your friend may not get delivered this Diwali, if you are an Aircel or RCom customer and your friend is on Airtel.

Bharti Airtel is not allowing termination of text messages from Aircel and RCom in its network, says a report in the Economic Times today.

While Bharti has accused the two rival operators of spamming its network by free messages, RCom and Aircel have said Bharti is abusing its market dominance.

It all started when Airtel sought to levy a charge for SMSes originating from other operators and terminating in its network. Reuters

While Airtel has shut its network to RCom only in Mumbai as of now, it is planning to shut out the second largest telecom operator at the national level in two days, according to the report.

The issue brings to the fore a dispute which is being fought in the Supreme Court. It all started when Airtel sought to levy a charge for SMSes originating from other operators and terminating in its network.

The country's largest telecom operator had set the charge at 10 paise per SMS, which is being contested by other operators.

An SMS termination charge will push up the tariffs for the customer.

Airtel had asked Aircel to cough up Rs 25 crore as SMS termination charge during April-October 2011. For Tata Teleservices, the bill is a much higher Rs 287 crore.

Aircel moved TDSAT alleging Airtel's decision was "arbitrary, illegal, wrong, unilateral and without any basis", according to the ET report.

However, the tribunal favoured Aairtel. Aircel has challenged this in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court refused to stay TDSAT's order last month.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi, however, agreed to hear the petitions filed by Tata Teleservices challenging the tribunal's order which has allowed Bharti Airtel to claim dues of Rs 287 crore from Tata Teleservices on account of the SMS termination charges, PTI reported.

It is the customer at the receiving end, as corporates wage their battle for market shares to rake in a bigger profit.

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 13:42 PM

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