[AI] SMS chokes telecom network

renuka warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 07:21:21 EST 2008

Date:02/01/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/01/02/stories/2008010257350100.htm

Front Page


Suresh Krishnamoorthy

A File photo

Record number of calls made on New Year's eve.

HYDERABAD: As midnight approached on Monday, New Year's eve, telecommunication networks struggled to handle the swelling numbers of voice calls and staggering
volumes of 'sms'. Getting a voice call through on Monday evening was tough even with the anticipatory arrangements that telecom companies made by having
more access ports to allow calls.

Jayalakshmi, a mother in Chennai, told her son here that it took her half-an-hour of repeated dialling before she could hear the voices of her granddaughter,
daughter-in-law and son. Similar was the experience of many callers. When mobile lines appear to have choked, people tried the landlines and several of
them fell back on the 'sms'. To add to the subscribers'woes, free 'sms' were discontinued on December 31 as the GSM operators Vodafone and AirTel went
into what they termed, 'special blackout day' mode. The TRAI has identified 10 days in a year when GSM operators can set aside existing tariff plans and
charge special rates only for sms. They include Diwali, Christmas, Valentine's, Friendship Day and New Year.

Regardless of the tariff plan they opt, subscribers have to pay Re. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 respectively for local, national and international sms. This caught
some subscribers unawares for they failed to read the fine print in the form of a message sms from the telecom company, alerting them that they would pay
more for sms on New Year's eve.

When contacted, Hamir Bakshi, Chief Operating Officer, AP, said there was no 'fine print' at all because TRAI had actually authorised them to do so.

T. Elango, COO, AirTel, AP, said that the option was used on the given days only because given the cheap rates of sms, people using it in bulk generally
tend to choke the system. Tata Teleservices Chief Operating Officer, AP Telecom Circle, S. Ramakrishna said that in the 24 hours from Sunday night, they
had handled 31 lakh outgoing and 26 lakh incoming sms. And this pertains to only the six lakh-odd CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) mobile connections
that it has in the twin cities.

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