Telcos fight govt on text cost [The Manila Times, Philippines]
(Manila Times (Phillipines) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 22--The country's telecommunication giants will seek legal remedies on the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC) decision ordering them to immediately refund or
reimburse their subscribers the excess charge of 20 centavos per short messaging service (SMS) and reduce the cost of text messaging from P1 to 80 centavos.
"We will avail of all legal remedies to preserve our right to determine pricing," said lawyer Froilan Castelo, head of the corporate and legal affairs group of Globe Telecom Inc.
Is statement, Smart Communications Inc. said that it will seek a reconsideration of the decision of the NTC
Smart said, "first, our position is there is no basis for finding that Smart has violated the NTC memorandum circular and overcharged its subscribers."
The telco also said that the circular, which was issued on October 24, 2011, required mobile-phone operators to reduce interconnection charges from P0.35 to P0.15 per SMS.
Smart added that these interconnection charges pertain to rates that mobile phone operators charge each other in order to deliver text messages from other networks to their own subscribers.
It even claimed that it has complied with the circular, since the circular did not order mobile-phone operators to reduce retail rates that are charged to customers.
The company also said that competition in the Philippine telecommunications industry remains very keen. Mobile operators are offering a wide range of competing service offers--including bucket and unlimited packages--in their drive to attract and retain subscribers.
As a result, Filipino consumers are enjoying SMS services that are among the most affordable in the world, Smart added.
In December 2011, the NTC issued separate orders asking telcos to explain why they should not be sanctioned for failing to obey Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011, which ordered the reduction in the interconnection charge for SMS.
In separate orders, NTC directed Globe, Smart and Digital Telecommunications Philippines (Sun Cellular, which is now allied with Smart) to immediately reduce their off-net short SMS rates, from the date of effectivity of the memorandum circular.
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