Indian operator BSNL is reported to be holding firm in a dispute over interconnect charges with mobile operators Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, with the state-run operator disconnecting links between the various networks.
According to the Times of India, customers of the three operators cannot make calls to BSNL subscribers, and vice-versa. BSNL stated that it had given the operators prior notice of its intentions, as per the interconnect agreements in place.
Last week, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued a notice to BSNL calling for it to restore all of the interconnect points it had disconnected in the Punjab service area, noting that the disruption caused is “against the interest of the consumers and service providers.” It had issued a deadline of 21 October for the operator to report compliance.
Indian Express said that BSNL had responded by requesting that TRAI withdraws its direction, and that because its charges were not being paid it was compelled to disconnect the mobile operators. It noted that the connections of Reliance Communications and Tata had been restored, following a judgement by the country’s Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
TDSAT is expected to make a ruling on the Airtel, Idea and Vodafone cases next month, reports said.
While the focus has been on the Punjab region, it was reported that customers in other areas are also seeing services disrupted. Indian operator alliance COAI said that customers in Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan and others “have been severely affected by the coercive disconnection activities.”