Press Release
December 9, 2009

Enrile urges Telcos to comply with new NTC ruling
lowering the cost of mobile phone calls

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile today urged telecommunications companies to comply with the new billing regime of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which mandates that calls that lasts less than one minute will no longer be charged the full rate of P7.50 per minute, and instead will be billed on a "per pulse" basis.

"Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular agreed to follow the new NTC ruling during last week's committee hearing at the Senate. I understand from reports that they have yet to follow through on their promise to immediately implement the new pricing scheme," Enrile said.

The Senate President was reacting to reports published in major newspapers stating that Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular failed to comply with the NTC order mandating them to bill calls on mobile phones by six-second pulses from the prevailing per-minute charges.

Enrile explained that the while the new rates for calls made to the same network should have taken effect last Dec. 6, new interconnection rates were to take effect on Dec. 16, or ten days after the implementation of Memorandum Circular 05-07-2009.

"We have given these Telcos all the time and leeway that they needed to study and apply the changes to their systems," Enrile said.

"We have even given them another ten days to fix their interconnection rates, so that when consumers call, for example, from Globe to Smart, the transition from the old billing scheme to the new rates will be smooth," Enrile added.

"I urge the Telcos to comply with the agreement to reduce cellphone rates, otherwise they will have to face sanctions if they continue to refuse to do so." Enrile added.

Enrile also said that while the consuming public will be the direct beneficiaries of the new "per pulse" billing scheme, the telecommunications companies should not fear losing revenue, and that the country's economy will benefit more as consumers will now be able to spend their hard earned cash on other necessities.

"We have to consider the interest of the public hand in hand with the interest of the Telcos because if we exclude the Telcos, we also have to exclude the consuming public because there is no system of communication" Enrile explained.

Enrile also said that "the consuming public will be happy about this new regime because if it were the present system, the flagdown cost for every call is in the case of P6, P6. We brought it down to P3. That is already an advantage to the customers of all of these Telcos."

"The economic upside of this is, the Telcos will increase their business, at the same time cellphone users who are more careful in the usage of equipment will have enough money to spend for other consumables and thereby enhance the vibrancy of the economy" Enrile added.

Enrile also reminded the telecommunications companies that the Senate has filed a bill giving the NTC broader regulatory powers in order to regulate the telecommunications industry and protect the consuming public.

"Under the amendment, we have given the NTC a fixed tenure and fiscal authority to protect the agency from any political pressure, thereby giving the agency more teeth to remain firm in implementing the rules, Enrile said.

"Fighting for the rights of the people have always been my advocacy. This new billing scheme is my way of wishing the people a very Merry Christmas, and I hope very much that the telecommunications companies follow suit," Enrile added.

Enrile, who was himself a victim of "disappearing cellphone load," is the main proponent of the bill regulating the telecommunications industry. Enrile, who has always championed the causes of the poor, has taken it upon himself to fight for the rights of millions of mobile phone users who have complained of receiving anomalous cellphone transactions such as being billed for unsolicited text messages and the so-called "disappearing load." Enrile was also instrumental in extending the validity of load of prepaid cellphone users.

News Latest News Feed