Globe pushes tiering scheme amid data capping complaints

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 17 2014 07:53 AM | Updated as of Feb 17 2014 08:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. is pushing for a “tiering” scheme wherein subscribers with highly stringent broadband requirements would be charged a premium rate.

This developed as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) directed Globe to submit submit copies of all its agreements with its subscribers on “unlimited data” as part of the investigation on several complaints about mobile data capping.

In a position paper, Globe said a method of classification or tiering as part of the proposal of NTC to allow each broadband service provider to “set the maximum volume of data allowed per subscriber or user per day” as this is consistent with the demands of fair use.

Globe is proposing a tiering system where a maximum volume limit is set for unlimited services; a higher volume is set for a bigger sum; and no limit for a premium fee.

“Preliminary, we may suggest a compromise whereby customers with highly stringent broadband requirements should move away from our unlimited services and instead consider our other plans, whereby, in consideration for a higher rate, we may agree to set higher volume limits, or, if no limit is desired, we may charge a premium rate for providing such special service,” the company stated in the position paper.

Globe stressed the need for NTC to establish a maximum setting particularly in the area of unlimited services.

“These are massed-based, and the user and data volume are understandably much higher than those observed for regular plans,” the firm said.

NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has directed Globe through a letter dated Feb. 14 to submit copies of agreements with subscribers with “unlimited data.”

“The NTC mandated Globe to submit copies of all its agreements with its subscribers on “unlimited data” so that the agency could thoroughly review the terms stipulated on fair use policy and Pre-Termination clauses to determine whether the subscribers were informed of the terms of their agreement,” Cordoba stated in the letter.

Based on complaints, Globe subscribers alleged they signed-up and are paying, or had paid, for “unlimited” data service but instead are getting “limited” data service.

Subscribers indicated that they were being placed on the network with slow data connection once their usage reached a certain volume of data 1 gigabyte per day or 3 GB per month for postpaid and 800 megabytes per day.

Manuel Casino, head of regulatory affairs of Globe, said in a letter to Cordoba dated Feb. 11 that the ultimate goal of the policy is to protect the regular users that represent about 97 percent of the subscriber base from the abuse of three percent who are heavy users.

Casino said Globe underwent a massive network modernization program two years ago in order to increase capacity and improve network performance.

Globe first implemented its fair use policy in 2010 covering prepaid calls, texts and data promos. The company enforced the policy for postpaid data plans only last month.

Amid burgeoning consumer use of smartphones and other mobile data devices, network data traffic reports showed a surge of over 300 percent during peak hours over the last two years.

Data usage reached 47 gigabits per second (Gbps) in 2013 from only 12 Gbps in 2011.