TDSAT directs Idea not to stop SMS interconnection from RCom

TDSAT directs Idea not to stop SMS interconnection from RCom New Delhi: The TDSAT has directed Idea Cellular not to stop interconnection of SMSes on its network originating from RCom and ordered the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group firm to pay 50 percent of the termination charges demanded by the Aditya Birla group company.

Passing an interim order, the telecom tribunal directed Idea not to disconnect termination of the SMSes from RCom's subscribers in nine circles. The circles are Kerala, UP (West), Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,Delhi Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

TDSAT's order came over two petitions filed by RCom against a Rs 5.9 crore demand by Idea Cellular on November 14 for SMS termination between July 2012 to October 2012.

"... It is directed that in respect of circles namely, Kerala, UP (West), Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,Delhi Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra the SMS services of the petitioner (RCom) shall not be disconnected and wherever disconnection has taken place, the same will be restored immediately subject to the condition that petitioner will start paying 50 percent of the amount demanded by the respondent @ 10 paise per SMS on net inflow of traffic basis.

"This amount will be calculated and paid with effect from the date of filing of this petition." said TDSAT.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal also asked Idea Cellular to file a reply on RCom's petition within two weeks.

It also granted RCom two weeks to file rejoinder over Idea's reply and posted the matter for February 5 next year.

Idea had asked RCom to pay the amount by December 6, failing which termination would be stopped.

According to RCom, for 15 circles, it has an agreement with Idea, where it is mentioned that no termination charge for SMSes originated and terminated on and from either's network would be payable.

The circles are - Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP(East), Bihar, Mumbai, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Kolkata, J&K, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

According to Rcom, Idea has asked to execute an agreement for SMS termination for these circles.
On this issue, single member TDSAT bench of P K Rastogi said: "In the circumstances, prima facie, I am of the view that parties do not have right to change the terms of the agreement unilaterally.
Both the parties are bound by the terms and conditions of the contract".

"Therefore, it is directed that the respondent (Idea) shall not disconnect the signals of the petitioner in respect of 15 circles aforementioned and no termination charge will be payable by any party to other party during pendency of these petitions," it said.