NTC readies charges vs telcos for not lowering SMS fee

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2011 05:14 PM | Updated as of Dec 13 2011 03:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is readying charges against the 3 major telecommunications firms for not following its order lowering the charge for short messaging service (SMS).

NTC director Edgardo Cabarios said the commission has received numerous complaints regarding the non-compliance of the telcos to bring down the price of regular text from P1 to P0.80. 

The NTC was scheduled to release the official complaint on Monday afternoon.

When asked if a refund is in order, Cabarios said that this matter will still undergo a hearing.

Based on an old law, a fine of P200 a day can be imposed for each day of violation.
Cabarios also warned of cancellation, suspension or revocation of authority to offer the SMS service.

According to Cabarios, the order is clear that the lowering of interconnection charges must result in lower SMS charge.

Earlier, militant groups have demanded a refund of P111million for a week's failure of the telcos to implement the NTC order.

In response, Atty. Froilan Castelo, Globe Telecom head of corporate and legal services group, said that Globe has complied with the NTC regulation on reduction of SMS access charges.

"We maintain that Globe has complied with the NTC regulation on reduction of SMS access charges. Accordingly, Globe has amended its interconnection agreements with other carriers to this effect. SMS is a deregulated service and as such, carriers are authorized under the rules to set competitive pricing which resulted in the continuous lowering of its price in the market," Castelo said.