Telcos ask CA to stop NTC refund, reduced text rate orders
MANILA, Philippines—Telecommunications Companies asked the Court of Appeals to stop the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from enforcing the P7 billion refund and the reduced rate in text messaging.
In separate petitions, Digital Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), which operates Sun Cellular, urged the appeals court to stop the implementation of the NTC order.
“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.
On the other hand, Smart Communications, in a press release, confirmed that it has filed a petition with the Court of Appeals but refused to give comment because “the matter is sub judice.” Sub Judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings.
But Smart said the petition seeks the revocation of the NTC 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.
Globe, meanwhile sought an extension to file its petition for review, in its motion, said that while it has already drafted the petition, “it is still undergoing extensive revision.”
It asked the appeals court to give it additional period from May 23 up to June 7.
The questioned NTC order is the NTC Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 02-10-2011, which required Digitel, Globe and Smart Communications Inc. to reduce their interconnection charge to P0.15 per off-net SMS from the then prevailing P0.35. Off-net SMS refers to messages transmitted across different networks.
Given the reduction of interconnection charges, the NTC said the retail price of SMS should have been cut by P0.20.
The NTC also ordered the three telcos to refund or reimburse their subscribers for the excess charge of P0.20 per off-net SMS collected even after MC 02-10-2011 took effect in December 2011.
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