MANILA, December 1, 2016 (PNA) — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is looking at slashing the rate of short message service (SMS) and internet service following the decision of Globe Telecom and PLDT Incorporated to reduce their interconnection charges for voice calls.
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said lowering voice call rates is just the first step in a string of reforms eyed by the regulatory body to give subscribers an efficient way of communication at the lowest possible rates.
“This is just the first step. It wouldn’t stop with voice. It will continue with text, internet. We will lower the prices,” Cordoba said after Globe and PLDT agreed to cut down interconnection charges by January 1, 2017 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last November 28.
Cordoba said giving the public cheap but high-quality communication is the thrust of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, noting that 50 percent of the market still relies on conventional calls.
“These are the people in the provinces, especially the lower income families. They are the ones using voice calls,” he noted.
“The telcos right now, they can use the lower interconnection rates to give different promos, pocket pricing, and unlimited calls; they may be crossed over from one network to another,” Cordoba said.
The NTC recently issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 09-11-2016 on Interconnection Charge for Voice Service, which directs that interconnection rates among telcos’ voice services shall no longer be higher than P2.50 per minute from the previous P4 per minute charge.
The interconnection charges are also subject to an annual review by the NTC.
“Effectively, the retail rates should be dropped by P1 across all plans” following the agreement signed by the telcos, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said.
Cabarios explained that with the lower interconnection charges, the current retail rates of P6.50 per minute for mobile calls and P7.50 per minute for mobile to landline calls are expected to drop to P5.50 and P6.50, respectively.
The NTC said the new reduced interconnection charges will be effective not later than January 1, 2017 to give sufficient time for the necessary adjustment in the operators’ respective billing system. (PNA)