New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT has directed Vodafone not to stop interconnection of SMSes originating from Loop Mobile's network.
The matter relates to Rs 86.70-crore dispute on SMS termination charges between the two mobile operators.
Passing an interim order, the tribunal said that there was a need to hear both the parties - Loop Mobile and Vodafone - after their replies are filed.
It further said that there was no written agreement between the parties and no charges were ever paid by any one.
"Keeping in view the balance of convenience in favour of the petitioner (Loop Mobile ), the respondent (Vodafone) is directed not to disconnect the interconnection of SMS of the petitioner. However, this order will be subject to any other or further order passed by this Tribunal," said TDSAT member P K Rastogi in the order.
TDSAT's order came over a petition filed by Loop Mobile, which was earlier known as BPL Mobile.
Termination charges are paid by an operator from whose network calls or SMSes originate to the one on whose network these communications end.
Vodafone had demanded Rs 86.70 crore as SMS termination charge from Loop Mobile for the period between April 2011 to September, 2012.
Vodafone's demand was on basis of tariff at the rate of 10 paise per SMS terminated on its network from Loop Mobile on October 25 and had said that services would be withdrawn from November 9, if not paid.
Loop had contended that no invoices were raised by Vodafone at any time and there was no agreement relating to SMS between them. SMS services between them was being on the basis of 'bill and keep' arrangement, it had claimed.
Opposing Loop's view, Vodafone had submitted that it had raised bills on a deemed agreement in place between them with effect from April, 2011. It had already notified Loop Mobile about SMS termination charges 10 paise in a letter on August 25, 2010.
The TDSAT said: "It is indisputed that the SMS services are being provided by both parties to each other from the beginning and no IUC on SMS was ever paid by any party. The demand of Rs 86.70 crore is being raised although there is no written agreement between the parties.
"There is a need to hear both the parties after receipt of the detailed reply by Vodafone," TDSAT said.