Operators’ spat mars Diwali SMS greetings

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on November 19, 2012


Service providers cite spamming, non-payment of fee as reasons

Mobile users of some cellular services had a tough time this Diwali sending greetings via SMS.

Thanks to a regulatory dispute, Bharti Airtel had blocked SMS traffic to Aircel and Reliance Communications. While SMS connectivity to Aircel is yet to be restored, Airtel has re-opened its network to Reliance Communications after a ruling by the telecom tribunal.

Airtel had blocked its network to incoming text messages from both the operators, alleging that the companies were spamming its network with “free SMS”.

“Connectivity to Aircel is yet to be restored as the companies are yet to sign an interconnect agreement, while those to Reliance Communications were restored following the tribunal order,” sources close to the development told Business Line.

When contacted an Airtel spokesperson said: “Airtel continues to be in compliance with TRAI regulations as well as TDSAT judgments on the issue of SMS interconnection between operators. The TDSAT judgment has inter alia specified execution of interconnection agreement for SMS services by Aircel with Airtel, which is pending till date with Aircel. Consequently, SMS services have been impacted.”

“Bharti Airtel was the first to block SMS between the two companies. This started on Friday November 9. In these circumstances, if an SMS is accepted but not delivered to an Aircel customer, the responsibility lies with the sender operator, in this case Airtel, and Aircel is in no way responsible for customer inconvenience or the customer being charged for the message not going through to its recipient,” an Aircel spokesperson said.

“The case against Airtel is pending in the Supreme Court and since it is sub-judice we will be unable to comment any further on this topic till the court hearing is over,” the spokesperson added.

Just a day before Diwali, the tribunal - Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) – in an interim order, had asked Airtel to immediately restore the SMS interconnection to RCom users.

“As per the interim order from TDSAT, interconnection for SMS from RCom will be restored till the final hearing on November 22,” the Airtel spokesperson said.


Separately, a dispute between Tata Teleservices and Vodafone India over text message termination charges also reached TDSAT.

Vodafone India had issued a notice stating it would block the Tata group company’s text messages on the latter’s platform, unless it paid a pending termination fee by November 17.

Vodafone has assured the tribunal that it would not block SMS on its network till the hearing, which is on November 20.


Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on November 19, 2012
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor