Opposing the transit charge collected by state telecom operator BSNL on calls routed through its network, private cellular operators have asked for direct connectivity with it.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) submitted in the Supreme Court that any transit of calls through BSNL's network was against public policy and imposed a burden on consumers and cellular service providers. COAI was responding to BSNL's rejoinder in Supreme Court.
COAI and BSNL have been embroiled in a legal wrangle after both parties moved the court following an order by TDSAT. While BSNL had challenged the TDSAT order asking it to stop charging cellular operators transit charges of Rs0.19 for accessing its CellOne network, COAI wanted refund of the charges with retrospective effect.
Tthe objective of allowing direct connectivity under new telecom policy NTP-99 was to do away with "anti-competitive" and "anti-consumer" transit charge to ensure level-playing field, say the cellular operators.
They have also argued that all cellular firms barring BSNL had direct connectivity among themselves, as provided in the license amendments.
They refuted BSNL's contention that augmentation of its network would be wasted if direct connectivity was implemented, saying that BSNL's infrastructure would be utilised by an increased subscriber base.