Philippines mobile firms oppose free SMS, agree to lower rates

10 Jun 2008

Philippines telecommunications operators opposed a government proposal to make SMS free, but agreed to sit down with lawmakers on how to lower the charge, a BusinessWorld report said.

At a joint hearing of three House committees, mobile phone firms said making SMS free would affect their earnings and result in poor service, the local daily also said.

Rodolfo Salalima, senior vice-president for corporate and regulatory affairs of Globe Telecom, was quoted by BusinessWorld as saying that their revenues could be halved if text message charges are terminated.

'In this era of free competition, it should be the business players that should determine the rate,' he said.

But Globe, he added, was willing to discuss with legislators ways to lower interconnection rates.

A lawmaker earlier suggested a cut on SMS, while another has filed a bill forcing mobile phone companies to provide SMS as a free service.

Under the measure, prepaid subscribers will be entitled to free text messages until the load is fully consumed.

The Philippines is said to be the text capital of the world. Filipinos send about a billion outgoing and incoming messages daily.

This figure is more than the total daily text messages sent in the US and Europe combined.

One mobile network, Sun Cellular, is no longer charging SMS sent between subscribers.

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