NTC income up 39% after PLDT pays higher fees

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2009 02:06 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2009 10:06 PM

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) posted a P3.2-billion revenue in 2008, owing to a Supreme Court (SC) decision ordering the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to pay more fees to the government.

The amount was 39 percent higher than the P2.3-billion revenue generated in 2007.

The increase was attributed to the SC decision with regard to the supervision and regulatory fee (SRF) payments. In the decision, the high court directed the PLDT to pay P500 million to the NTC.

"PLDT paid the NTC more than P500 million more than it used to pay because of a Supreme Court decision regarding SRF payments. As of November last year, we already collected P3.15 billion. Of that, SRF payments already stood at P1.4 billion while SUF (spectrum user fees) at more than P1 billion," NTC Director Edgardo Cabarios said.

NTC primarily derives its income from SRF, SUF, and from payments of various licenses. Around P310 million in SUF was collected from 3G (third generation) firms last January, with fees depending on the size of the bandwidth allocated to them.

The NTC requires 3G firms to increase their SUF depending on the actual number of subscribers. After getting four million 3G subscribers, companies will pay an additional P2 million in SUF for every increase of 100,000 customers.

Aside from 3G companies, the NTC also collects SUF from cellular firms, providers of broadband wireless access services and other entities which were assigned with a frequency bandwidth.

On the other hand, phone firms, broadcast companies, and other entities pay an SRF of P0.50 for every P100 of paid capital. In 2007, SRF payments from phone firms reached almost P860 million, while the broadcast industry paid about P50 million.

Meanwhile, the NTC is thinking of ways to further increase its revenue. One of them is an imposition of annual fees on number codes assigned to phone firms. Companies, however, are opposing the proposal, saying that it is not commensurate to the cost of regulation and supervision.