NTC calls on Filipino operators to cut SMS rates and refund users’ excess charges

8 May 2014

The Philippines’ industry watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), has ordered the country’s mobile network operators to cut the cost of their text messaging services and reimburse customers who have been hit in the past with what it terms ‘excess charges’. In separate orders published on 7 May, the regulator dismissed ‘motions for reconsideration’ filed by each of the main cellcos – PLDT-backed duo Smart Communications and Digitel Mobile (Sun Cellular), plus Globe Telecom – saying that having studied their arguments, it found ‘no cogent or compelling reason to disturb its previous order which clearly explained the basis for this ruling’. The big three had earlier appealed Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 02-10-2011, which required them to reduce their interconnection charge from PHP0.35 (USD0.008) to PHP0.15 per off-net SMS. Further, the NTC ordered the three cellcos to refund or reimburse their subscribers for the excess PHP0.20 per SMS levied on them after the MC 02-10-2011 took effect in December 2011.