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Telcos urged to heed NTC's refund order to keep franchises
[November 22, 2012]

Telcos urged to heed NTC's refund order to keep franchises

Nov 23, 2012 (The Manila Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Senate and Malacanang on Thursday urged telecommunications companies (telcos) to comply with the order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to refund overcharged fees to subscribers.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. pressed telcos to heed the order of the NTC to immediately refund the 20 percent overcharged fees to subscribers.

Enrile and Revilla said that telcos should not dilly-dally in abiding NTCs directive if they still want to be patronized by consumers. Enrile said that Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Digitel Mobile Philippines (Sun Cellular) should not wait for a court order before they start the refund.

Revilla, chairman of the Senate committee on public services, warned that his committee may push for a review of telcos' franchises if they defy the NTC's order.

"If they don't, I will initiate a review of the telcos' franchises as this may be a ground for their revocation," Revilla said.

He also said that telcos should not wait for public outrage to build up before they act.

"Rather than dilly-dallying, the telcos must oblige to the refund directive of the NTC as soon as possible if they do not want to lose their customers," he added. "Considering the financial difficulties nowadays, cellphone subscribers whether post-payers or pre-payers are eagerly waiting to receive the refund." Meanwhile, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Malacanang welcomes the NTC's position that there has been overcharging, and that it wants to see the basis for the entire NTC resolution.

Lacierda also said that Malacanang hopes that the NTC will be able to defend its decision should the telcos file an appeal before the court.

"We'd like to ensure due process is followed on this case. There will be a process to be followed and certainly, NTC is prepared to defend its decision," he added.

The NTC has penalized the industry players for not heeding its Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011: Interconnection Charge for Short Messaging Service.

Globe, Smart and Sun were also ordered to refund subscribers the excess charge of P0.20 for each "off-net" text messages sent from one network to another, since the memo took effect, and to reduce their off-net SMS rates to not more than P0.80 from P1, effective immediately.

With a report from Catherine S. Valente ___ (c)2012 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines) Visit The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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