Calls to Lower India’s SMS Termination Rate

An Indian consumer group is accusing the mobile networks of collusion in how they set the termination rates for text messages.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to Bharti Telecom on a petition filed by Aircel against what it described as Bharti’s ‘unilateral’ and ‘unjustified’ increase of SMS termination charge from 0 paisa to 10 paise.

The NGO Telecom Watchdog has sent a complaint to the telecom tribunal TDSAT, claiming that the rates are illegal and that the telecoms regulator has failed to deal with the issue.

In its complaint, the NGO said that “they are doing this illegal activity in a cartelised manner. Some of the operators have come before the tribunal and have challenged this provision, but are not really contesting the issue since it suits their requirement to hike the tariff to the consumer in a uniform/ cartelised manner,”

The group wants the regulator to suspend the termination rates — currently 10 paise — until a new lower figure is agreed.

The NGO claims that the true cost of processing the SMS is closer to 1 paise per message.

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