NTC orders telcos to cut SMS interconnection rates
Nov 21, 2012 (Menafn - The Manila Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) directed the three telecommunication companies (telcos) to immediately comply with its circular reducing the short messaging service (SMS) interconnection charge from P0.35 to P0.15.
The NTC issued on Tuesday three separate decisions filed against Globe Telecom Inc., Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (Sun Cellular), and Smart Communications Inc. over the telcos' non-compliance with NTC's memorandum circular no. 02-10-11, which became effective in December last year.
The NTC directed Globe, Sun and Smart to immediately reduce off-net SMS rates from P1 to not more than P0.80; refund or reimburse their subscribers the excess charge of P0.20 per off-net SMS; pay a fine at the rate of P200 a day from December 1, 2011 until the date of compliance; and submit documents and report pertaining to off-net SMS of all its subscribers who were charged at the regular rate of P1 per off-net SMS.
According to the NTC, "unli" promos and such other services are not permanent remedies because the telecommunication companies can pull them out anytimeand could only last for a specific period of time.
Meanwhile, lawyer Froilan Castelo, head corporate and legal services group of Globe, argued that SMS is a deregulated service and telcos have no right to set the retail price of this service.
"In fact, this has worked for the benefit of the consumer because the prices have gone down drastically with the advent of customization, bucket and combo promos and unlimited services," Castelo pointed out.
"There is no provision in the NTC Circular, which imposes a ceiling price of P0.80 per SMS sent. There are other various legal grounds by which we base our opposition. In this regard, Globe shall avail of all legal remedies to preserve its right to determine the pricing of its services," the Globe executive added.
Meanwhile, officials from Smart and Sun said that they would like to reserve comment on this matter as they review their options for seeking remedies.
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