Trai asks old GSM telcos to stop discriminatory charges on SMS

Trai asks old GSM telcos to stop discriminatory charges on SMS

New Delhi: Noting that some old GSM players levy SMS termination charge on new operators “unilaterally and in a discriminatory manner", telecom regulator Trai has asked them to strictly comply with the rules.

Telecom companies pay each other interconnection usage charge (IUC) for using one another’s networks for originating, terminating or transiting calls or SMSes.

“It was brought to the notice of the Authority by a number of service providers that discriminatory termination charge for SMS are being levied by some service providers," Trai said in a statement.

Some service providers are levying fixed SMS termination charges unilaterally on new operators and in a discriminatory manner, it added.

Although Trai did not name any operator, the advantage lies clearly with the old GSM operators because of the huge subscriber base they have.

In March 2009, Trai added a new Schedule saying, “IUC for Short Message Service (SMS) shall be under forbearance: Provided that such charges shall be transparent, reciprocal and nondiscriminatory."

Trai said, “... Also in a view of the fact that by and large the arrangement prevalent today are ‘bill and keep’ and mutually agreed reciprocal arrangements, the Authority believes that the service providers would continue with these arrangements, in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner...."

The authority noted that Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have concluded agreements with some service providers specifying IUC for SMS, while in respect of the rest, they are still in the process of entering into similar agreements.

This has resulted in a situation wherein the charge being actually applied is different for different service providers.