NTC: Philippine Telecommunication Companies owe subscribers P7Billion

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For overpricing short messaging service (SMS) since December of 2011, local telecommunication companies must refund prepaid and postpaid subscribers more than Php7 billion, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) said Thursday, May 8.

The refund must be made within 30 days after Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and Digitel’s Sun Cellular received the notice issued by NTC on May 7, Edgardo Cabarios, NTC Common Carriers Authorization director, told reporters in an ambush interview.

An estimated 10-percent or 200 million of the 2 billion text messages sent through the networks Globe Telecom Inc., Smart Communications Inc., and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. or Sun Cellular were charged at the rate P1 per message, Cabarios said.

Refunds could be in a form prepaid load credits or reimbursement for postpaid subscribers that will reflect through their billing statements. It should be worth noting that the charges only implies to the inter-network and regular text messages and not covered by promos like unlimited or combo-package offers.

Another 20 percent or 40 million of the 200 million text messages were inter-network messages.

The telcos must refund P0.20 per text message or P8 million per day since the commission issued Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011 – the “Interconnection Charge for SMS” – which took effect in December 2011.

Being said that, these wireless carriers owe P7.04 billion the public, Cabarios said.

These big three telcos must also shell out P160,000 each for failing to heed the NTC order, he added.

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