Telcos file TRO vs P7-billion SMS refund order

By , on May 28, 2014

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MANILA — Telecommunication companies in the country filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to refund P7 billion to the subscribers.

While Digital Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), operator of Sun Cellular and Smart Communications, have filed separate petitions against the NTC order, Globe sought an extension to file its petition for review saying that while it order “still undergoing extensive revision.”

“It is respectfully prayed that upon the filing of the instant petition for review, the Honorable Court issue a 60-day temporary restraining order,” DMPI said in its petition.

The NTC Memorandum Circular required the companies to cut their interconnection charge to P0.15 per off-net SMS from the prevailing P0.35.

Off-net SMS are text messages transmitted across different networks.

Given this reduction, the NTC mandated the retail price of SMS to be cut by P0.20, hence ordering the telcos to refund or reimburse their subscribers for the excess charge of P0.20 per off-net SMS collected even after the memorandum took effect in December 2011.

The companies however failed to agree with the memorandum and maintained their position against the order.

“We maintain our position that there are no such excess charges and therefore no basis for the NTC order. NTC’s memorandum circular clearly directs the concerned operators to lower SMS interconnection rates, but it clearly does not order the operators to reduce retail rates because under the law and NTC’s own rules, SMS is classified as a value-added service and is therefore deregulated,” Smart said in a statement.

With reports from Yugatech News and Tetch Torres-Tupas