Press Release
January 5, 2010

Enrile: Telcos insist on denying consumer's right to better
and cheaper service

Citing reports that local telecommunications companies are still being plagued by the so-called "vanishing load" and text spam problems, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile once again called on his colleagues to fast-track the passage of Senate Bill No. 3465, which gives regulatory powers to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Under the proposed bill, the NTC will be given the power to ensure a fair and competitive business environment among industry players, which will ultimately ensure universal access to reliable and affordable services for the general public.

"I just received a report from the NTC that shows people still losing unused prepaid loads. Furthermore, text spams have more than doubled in the past two months, contrary to reports by these telcos that they have stopped sending unwanted texts to their customers," Enrile said.

Enrile was reacting to data submitted by the NTC which showed that the Commission received a total of 312 telco related complaints from November to December last year. These complaints ranged from 195 instances of "vanishing loads" to 117 instances of spam messages.

"There were only 129 complaints last October. Why the increase? To have 312 complaints in one month shows that the telcos are telling the government that we are toothless and they (telcos) run the show," Enrile stressed.

"Marami sa mga complainants, mga Smart subscribers. Nawawalan pa rin daw sila ng load. Malamang lalo na nitong nagdaang Pasko, I won't be surprised if data will show that a lot of our kababayan were not able to send texts or calls to their loved ones for Christmas" Enrile fumed.

Enrile recalled that before the holiday season, telcos, specifically Smart and Globe, issued statements suspending their "unlimited text and call" promos, citing network congestion. The NTC countered with an order preventing them from suspending the promos, saying that to do so will only benefit the telcos and would be unfair to the millions of mobile phone subscribers who relied on their mobile phones to reach loved ones during the Christmas break.

The Senate President also said that "the act of these telcos to suspend their promos during the holiday season was suspect, and childish, coming on the heels of the order mandating them to follow a new billing scheme. It's as if they are saying "we can't get what we want, neither can the people and it's (NTC's) your fault!"

"Now they are asking the Court of Appeals to stop the NTC from implementing the per pulse billing regime, saying that they need more time to fix their systems" Enrile added.

"Several months have gone by, they have been given all the time that they need. This, again, is a delaying tactic. They must comply or they will face sanctions!" Enrile further said.

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