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The SMS (short message service) link between Aircel and Airtel was restored on Thursday following a Supreme Court directive.

The SMS connectivity between two of Tamil Nadu’s largest GSM mobile networks had been cut for nearly a month following a legal dispute over payment of interconnection charges.

On November 9, Airtel blocked SMS connectivity with Aircel, saying the network was spamming its servers with its free SMS offers and it had lead to a drop in the quality of its own service.

In retaliation, Aircel blocked Airtel’s SMS links. In the backdrop of it though was a dispute over payment of an SMS termination fee. Airtel had demanded a fee of 10 paise per SMS while Aircel had challenged it.

When the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal dismissed Aircel’s plea in September, the company moved the Apex Court.

In an interim order on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered Airtel to restore SMS link with Aircel.

It also asked Aircel to pay the bill raised by Airtel based on the 10-paise-per-SMS calculation, and said the amount could be refunded with interest if the final orders in the case declared the charges to be high.

Both networks completely restored SMS links by Thursday afternoon. There was no official reaction from either companies over the restoration of the service.

Aircel and Airtel account for more than half of the mobile subscription base in the State.

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