NTC moves to cut text rates by half

Telecom firms will soon lower the charges of text messages and voice call per minute, as the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) yesterday issued a circular reducing the interconnection charges among telecoms by more than 50 percent.

The Department of Transportation and Communication last May 26 directed the NTC to issue a circular that would reduce charges on text messaging and call rates, as the proposed free text messaging has been strongly opposed by the telecom firms.

NTC proposed to lower the interconnection charges for short messaging system (SMS) from P0.35 per text to P.15 per text.

NTC said at present public telecommunication entities (PTEs) are offering SMS at prices as low as P0.15 per SMS within their network but it is P1 per text to other networks.

Edgardo Cabarios, head of the NTC’s common carrier and authorization department, said retail prices would likely go down from P1 per text to about P0.40 to P0.50 per text message.

For voice calls, the circular proposed to lower the interconnection charges from the current P4 per minute to P1.50.

At present, telecoms charges for voice calls are pegged at P6 to P7 per minute. NTC estimates said that it would be reduced to P3 to P4 per minute to other networks.

The NTC basis for lowering the interconnection charges on voice calls, among different networks was the lower termination rates in Thailand and Malaysia.

The interconnection charges among the telecoms have been fixed under a bilateral agreement between the telecoms firms, yet the NTC has set the maximum ceiling price for the interconnection charges that would bring about competition and further lower prices of telecom services.

Telecom companies have yet to comment on the circular. – Myla Iglesias(MALAYA)

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