Cellcos in fresh protest over new fee

24 Apr 2007

Mobile operators in the Philippines have joined together to protest a plan by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to require the payment of a sticker fee before handsets can be sold locally. Smart Communications and Sun Cellular argue that the NTC’s plan will ‘unduly increase phone unit prices and increase business costs for mobile service companies, their suppliers and dealers’. They add that the new fee is tantamount to a form of taxation on them – something only Congress can create – and is therefore not enforceable. Mobile handset maker Ericsson has also criticised the plan, which would require them to pay close to USD2 for an NTC sticker, saying it would delay the release of new phones in the market and increase handset costs to the end user. The regulator argues, however, that the stickers are needed to combat the problem of so-called ‘gray handsets’ coming into the country.