New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT has directed Idea Cellular not to disconnect Aircel from its network and said no SMS termination fee will be charged by either of the operators till the case is decided.
"It is directed that the respondent (Idea) shall not disconnect the signals of the petitioner (Aircel), no termination charge will be payable by any party to other party during pendency of these petitions," said TDSAT in its interim order.
Meanwhile, the Tribunal asked Loop Mobile to pay Idea Cellular 5 paise per message, which is half of the 10 paise SMS termination charges per message demanded by Idea Cellular.
"... Petitioner (Loop) will start paying 50 percent of the amount demanded by the respondent (Idea) @ 10 paisa 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," the tribunal said.
Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal's (TDSAT's) order came on two separate petitions challenging the SMS termination fee demanded by Idea Cellular.
Termination charges are paid by an operator from whose network calls or SMSes originate to the one on whose network these communications end.
In Aircel's case, the Tribunal observed that there was a clause in their agreement mentioning that there would be no termination charges for SMSes originating from either party's network and terminated on other party's network.
The agreement which became operational from February 20 was continuing till Idea raised demand.
"Idea cannot change the terms and conditions of the said agreement unilaterally... Therefore, any amendment to the agreement has to be on mutual agreement in writing," said TDSAT.
However, in Loop Mobile's case, there was no specific clause in their agreement.
"It is seen from the agreement dated July 17, 2007 executed between the parties that no provision exist about the payment or otherwise of termination charges for SMS services. However, the SMS services are being provided by the parties without raising any bills or making any payment to other party," the Tribunal said.
Idea on November 9, 2012 raised demand of Rs 13.07 crore as SMS termination charges for the period between July, 2012 and October, 2012. It had asked Aircel to pay the amount and execute a new agreement by December 6 this year, failing which SMS services was to be terminated.
For Loop Mobile, Idea had asked it to pay Rs 17.27 crore for the period between July to October 2012.