MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday said it was technically possible to bill voice calls by the second or per-pulse but mobile operators insist on retaining the existing per-minute arrangement.
“The NTC issued a memorandum circular that [the call charges] has to be per six-second pulse. But…the [telecommunications companies] brought the issue to court,” said NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba during budget deliberations at the Senate Tuesday.
NTC reiterated its stand on the issue after Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero asked if there was any update on the case but the Commission said it was still pending with the Supreme Court (SC).
“They’re just nitpicking and want to earn more?” Escudero asked.
“Yes,” Cordoba answered, adding that they were expecting the high court to support the Court of Appeal’s favorable decision.
During the hearing, the finance sub-committee, chaired by Escudero, approved the NTC’s 2014 proposed budget of P244.8 million.
In 2009, the NTC issued Memorandum Circular 05-07-2009, mandating that the “maximum unit of billing for the cellular mobile telephone service (CMTS) whether postpaid or prepaid shall be six (6) seconds per pulse.”
However, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Digitel Telecommunications Philippines opposed the order and questioned it in court.
In early 2012, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NTC, prompting the telecommunications operators to raise the issue to the SC.
At present, the standard call rate for Globe and Smart is P6.50 to P7.50 per minute.