NTC seeks SolGen’s help on SMS refund case

The Court of Appeals asks the National Telecommunications Commission to explain why they should deny an injunction filed on the refund of P7 billion excess text messaging fees

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has asked the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for legal assistance in the case filed by telecommunication companies against the agency’s directive to refund subscribers over P7 billion in excess text messaging fees. 

This is in response to the Court of Appeals’ order asking the NTC to explain why the application for the Writ of Preliminary Injunction sought by Globe Telecom Inc should not be granted. 

“We already endorsed the CA Resolution to the Office of the Solicitor General to comply with the order of the CA to explain why the application for a Writ of Preliminary Injuction should not be issued,” NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told reporters. 

In December 2011, the NTC issued a circular requiring local telco firms, including Smart Communications Inc, Sun Cellular, and Globe, to reduce their rates for “interconnection charges” or fees for short messaging system (SMS) or text messages sent to other networks from P0.35 to P0.15. 

In November 2012, NTC issued a show cause order after telcos reduced their interconnection rates but failed to roll back their SMS charges from P1.00 to P0.80.

As a result, the NTC also ordered telcos to reimburse their subscribers the excess charge of P0.20 per SMS from the effectivity of the NTC memorandum. 

Smart, Sun Cellular and Globe filed separate motions for reconsiderations but the NTC denied them in May, prompting the telcos to elevate the matter to the Court of Appeals. 

The CA issued a 6-day temporary restraining order on August 22 stopping the NTC from implementing the December 2011 circular. 

The court also directed the NTC to show cause why a writ of prelimiary injunction should not be issued against the order. – Rappler.com

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