S. Vijay, a student, is relieved that the short messaging service (SMS) communication between Aircel and Airtel networks has resumed.

For almost a month Airtel had blocked its network to incoming text messages from Aircel, alleging that the latter was spamming its network with free SMSes.

Initially, one could send messages from an Aircel to an Airtel number but not vice-versa. Later, the service was suspended altogether.

Surprise message

In a communication to subscribers, Aircel today said the SMS communication with Airtel has been restored.

“It was a surprise message on my mobile today,” said Vijay, who is on the Aircel network.

Aircel had a similar problem with Vodafone but the services were restored after the telecom tribunal intervened.

Chennai-based Aircel and the Delhi-based Airtel together account for over half of the six crore mobile subscribers in Tamil Nadu.

Both Airtel and Aircel have been entangled in a legal battle over settlement of the inter-connectivity usage charge for SMS.

Airtel demanded a fee of 10 paise from Aircel for every SMS terminating in its network. Aircel challenged this in the Supreme Court.

Interim order

The court, in its interim order, directed Aircel to pay 10 paise and asked Airtel to restore the service, said an Aircel spokesperson.

Scores of subscribers of the two networks have been severely impacted in the past month because of the absence of SMS service.


(This article was published on December 7, 2012)
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