India's Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has ordered Tata Teleservices to pay half the amount of the SMS termination fees requested by Vodafone, until the dispute is resolved.
According to The Times of India on Tuesday, Tata Teleservices has to pay 5 paise (less than 1 rupee) for each SMS that terminates on Vodafone's network--half of what Vodafone demanded on the net flow of SMS from the date of filing petition. Termination charges are fees one operator has to pay to another when an SMS from its network goes over to another operator.
The TDSAT also directed Vodafone not to disconnect the interconnection of the SMS generated from Tata Teleservices's network and if it has disconnected, it should be immediately restored.
This comes after Vodafone's complaint on Nov. 7, asking Tata Teleservices to pay INR 1.88 billion (US$33.9 million) as SMS termination fee by Nov. 17 or it would disconnect the firm's SMSes from its network, the report noted. Following this, Tata Teleservices had asked the Tribunal to set aside the notice issued by Vodafone, alleging it had unilaterally changed the interconnection usage charges (IUC) conditions.
The blocking of one telco's SMSes by another has become prevalent in India. Vodafone also blocked all text messages to Aircel's network over issues relating to non-payment of termination charges. Bharti Airtel also closed its network to incoming text messages from subscribers of Aircel and Reliance Communications three weeks ago, after they started flooding its network with "free spam messages" and allegedly congested its network.