MANILA, Philippines – The top mobile phone companies in the country asked the industry regulator to reconsider its ruling to slash text or short messaging service (SMS) fee by P0.20 and refund subscribers.
In separate motions, Smart Communications Inc., Sun Cellular and Globe Telecom, Inc. also questioned the authority of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), stressing that industry has long been deregulated.
They said NTC has issued a Memorandum Circular no. 02-10-2011 requiring the phone companies to reduce interconnection charges from P0.35 to P0.15 per short message service (SMS).
Since the interconnection charge is a component part of the SMS retail price, the NTC later on sent a request letter to the telcos asking them to also reduce the basic SMS rate.
The telcos are saying the directive to lower the regular SMS rate was not included in the circular, but was merely a “request.”
Smart and Sun Cellular, both units of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), said separately that the NTC acted beyond the scope of its authority and that they were “never informed in clear terms that the circular covers retail rates for SMS as, in fact, this is clearly not provided for in the circular.
They said there was no public hearing and that the order to to refund subscribers because the telcos “overcharged” was “unjustified.”
Globe, for its part, said the NTC decision is “completely indefensible” since it “imposes severe penalties” for violation of a provision “that does not exist.”
The cellular firms also stressed that SMS is a value added service which is deregulated and therefore not subject to the P0.20 retail rate reduction that the NTC wants. – Rappler.com
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