Philippines court orders per-pulse billing

Dylan Bushell-Embling
02 Feb 2012

A Philippines court has ordered the nation's mobile operators to implement per-pulse billing, local media has reported.

The nation's Appeals Court upheld a ruling by regulator NTC requiring the change from the per-minute billing the operators have long been using, ABS-CBN Newssaid.

The nation's mobile operators, including Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, had appealed the 2009 and 2010 directives in the Philippines' court system.

Furthermore, the telcos will be unable to implement the dialing system they had suggested to relieve the technical burden of implementing the change.

Under the system, subscribers would enter a prefix number when dialing to take advantage of per-pulse billing.

The appeals court found that the prefix dialing system would negate the mandatory nature of the NTC's order.

But the case is not yet settled, as the courts had previously rejected the NTC's proposed mandatory maximum fee scheme for per-pulse billing. The legal fight could thus make its way to the Supreme Court.

The operators are involved in a separate dispute with regulators over SMS rates.

The NTC has given operators until mid-February to submit their SMS records to the regulator to help it determine whether they disobeyed instructions to lower SMS rates, Business Mirrorreported on Tuesday.

Operators complied with a 2010 order to reduce interconnection charges for SMS. But the NTC expected the cut to translate in a reduction in maximum retail SMS rates from 1 peso ($0.02) to 0.80 pesos, and argues that this hasn't happened.

But operators insist the NTC has no authority to set retail SMS rates, and that in any case due to competition average rates are much lower than 0.80 pesos.

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