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NTC orders telcos to cut down SMS rate to P0.80 immediately



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Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom Inc. must lower the rates of text messages to P0.80 from P1 and give back to subscribers the P0.20 difference for every text message sent since December 2011.

In separate orders the commission issued on Wednesday to GLobe, PLDT’s Smart Communications Inc. and subsidiary PLDT, Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc., the regulator denied the appeal the telcos filed before the commission in December 2012 to reverse the December 2011 order on short messaging service (SMS) rates.

In an interview with reporters, NTC Common Carriers Authorization director Edgardo Cabarios said Smart, Globe, and Digitel’s Sun Cellular simply have to heed with Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011 or the “Interconnection Charge for SMS” that the commission issued in December 2011.

According to NTC, “the commission finds no congent or compelling reason to disturb its previous order which clearly explained the basis for this ruling.”

SMS is value-added service, and the commission is not constrained from reducing the cost of communications in the interest of the public, the NTC noted.

Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and Deputy Commissioners Carlo Jose Martinez and Delilah Deles signed the orders.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) denied the motions for reconsideration filed last December 2012 by Smart Communications Inc., Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc., and Globe Telecom Inc. that seek to reverse NTC’s order on the rollback of short messaging service (SMS) rates to PHP 0.80 from PHP 1.

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Telcos should have regarded the Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011 or the “Interconnection Charge for SMS” that the commission issued in December 2011 but they did not and continued to charge subscribers PHP 1 for every text message sent (for every 160 characters to be exact). Now, they should return all the excess charges to its subscribers. Imagine PHP 0.20 going a long way and will cost telcos billions for not following the order. Not only that, they should also pay a fine of PHP 200 for each day since December 2011.

Refunds could be in a form prepaid credits or through billing for postpaid subscribers according to Edgardo Cabarios, director for Common Carriers Authorization at NTC. Keep in mind that the charges only covers the inter-network and regular text messages not covered by promos like unlimited or combo-package offers.

All telcos responded that have not yet received the new resolution and will still study it first before releasing a statement.

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