NTC publishes new rules to ‘solve’ telecoms issues

29 Jun 2009

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has drafted four new memorandum circulars (MCs) designed to amend the way fees are charged for mobile services in the country (i.e. changing them to pulse or per-second calls) and to extend the duration period of pre-paid credits on SIM cards. Local online journal BusinessMirror says the development comes amid vocal calls for solutions to the problems being experienced by subscribers in the country – an issue which came to light recently when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile denounced practices of telecoms companies and sought an inquiry into their tariff practices.

It is understood the first draft MC calls for an end to per-minute charging on cell phones, which will be replaced by either a ‘per-three-second pulse charge’ or, the ‘authorised rates’ will be adjusted to ‘per-60 seconds being divided by 20.’ Local telcos are unhappy with this set-up though, arguing the first ten seconds is the most expensive part of the call and that the NTC’s formula is outside their costing models. The second MC calls on all telcos offering promotional rates to ‘group into specific services being offered and be identified by specific access codes,’ or SMS promotions should have only one set of access codes and voice-call promos another. The order will compel operators to keep the public informed of the nature and validity of the promotions on offer. The third MC is designed to the validity of pre-paid load credits, while the fourth addresses complaints on vanishing load credits brought about by SPAM messages or unsolicited messages from advertising firms.