Indian incumbent Bharti Airtel temporarily blocked incoming text messages from rivals Aircel and Reliance Communications, in the heat of a dispute over interconnect charges.
Airtel implemented the block arguing that it was forced to do so after its rivals flooded its network with “free spam messages,” Economic Times reported.
The operator alleges that these messages are impacting the quality of service of its network and, by extension, to its own customers.
Indian telecom tribunal TDSAT subsequently told Bharti Airtel to restore SMS interconnection to RCom while the Supreme Court waits to hear RCom's request to have the interconnection permanently restored.
RCom and Aircel have accused Bharti Airtel of using pressure tactics and abusing its market dominance to force them into signing an unfavorable bilateral interconnect agreement.
According to Aircel, this agreement would result in a 0.1 rupee charge per SMS for non-Airtel customers.
Aircel is resisting signing this agreement, claiming it would result in significantly higher costs for its customers. The operator is also challenging fees claimed by Bharti Airtel over SMS interconnections in the Supreme Court.