Government department clears cut in mobile access charges

15 Aug 2011

The Manila Times writes that the Department of Finance (DoF) in the Philippines has approved a proposed reduction in access charges for mobile voice calls and SMS services in the country, saying it would have minimal impact on corporate taxes. The paper quotes the head of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Gamaliel Cordoba, as saying the DoF has ratified the memorandum circular designed to implement such a move. The watchdog had earlier asked the DoF to review the possible implications on corporate income tax collection before it imposed the cut, but with the government department giving the thumbs up, Cordoba says the reductions will be ‘good for consumers and it will actually increase usage’. The NTC is however, still revising the circular amid telecom operator requests to usher in a longer glide path. The NTC hopes to implement the lower access charges within the year, but Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel), for example, has proposed a five-year glide path for voice services and four-year glide path for SMS – i.e. longer than the NTC’s proposed three-year period.