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Home >Companies >Toll-free numbers: Bharti Airtel, R-Com fight takes new twist

New Delhi: The ongoing spat between telecom service providers Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com) over the use of numbers prefixed by 1800 and 1860 has taken a new twist with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) filing an affidavit with the telecom tribunal in favour of Airtel.

Numbers starting with 1800 and 1860 are typically allocated to consumer goods companies and other service providers as a toll-free complaint number.

The NNP or national numbering plan is a document designating the use of numerical conventions for various purposes.

Airtel started blocking 1800 and 1860 calls coming from R-Com’s enterprise clients terminating outside the country, which led the Anil Ambani-promoted company to approach the telecom tribunal. R-Com objected to the blocking of the calls, saying that there shouldn’t be any distinction between calls that terminate within or outside the country.

DoT says calls terminating overseas should be prefixed by 00800. R-Com said this series wasn’t part of the Intelligent Network (IN) services and an operator could only use it after signing bilateral agreements with operators in other countries.

Telecom service providers that offer 1800 and 1860 numbers have to enter into agreements with other such companies, similar to the way in which operators have agreements with each other to allow calls from their networks to terminate on the other operator’s network.

In 2007, R-Com and Bharti entered into an agreement in which the former paid Re0.52 to enable its consumers to dial toll free 1800 and 1860 numbers to offset costs. Airtel contends that R-Com should pay Rs1.10 per call for international calls.

shauvik.g@livemint.com

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