Idea Cellular announced that it is suspending interconnect services with Aircel citing non-payment of dues. "Despite several reminders for releasing the dues since November 2017, the operator has failed to meet its payment commitments forcing Idea to suspend interconnect services, as per the terms of interconnect agreement between both parties," Idea said in a press statement.

Suspension of interconnect services means Aircel users will not be able to connect with folks on Idea network until the time both the parties reach a mutual understanding.

"Idea Cellular regrets the inconvenience caused to mobile users who are unable to connect with each other. We sincerely hope that the operator will honour its contractual obligation and payment commitment, in the interest of customers," Idea said adding that "interconnect services will be restored immediately upon Aircel making payment towards the outstanding dues."

Interconnect rates have become a major bone of contention between new telecom companies like Aircel -- even Jio -- and majors like Idea. Companies like Aircel are in favour of lower rates while Idea and others argue that (higher) interconnect rates are important now more than ever owing to traffic asymmetries that have risen due to companies like Jio that are offering free voice service over their network.

"Interconnect charges are important in the current scenario where traffic asymmetries have increased to an unprecedented level of 10:1 as the new operator (Reliance Jio) offers free voice service," R S Sharma, chairman, Idea Cellular, had said in a letter to TRAI last year. – India Today 



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