Philippine’s three telco groups are under pressure from regulator NTC for failing to lower SMS prices despite a decrease in inter-carrier access charges.
A mandated cut to inter-carrier SMS rates by 0.2 pesos ($0.005) per message took effect 30 November, but this change has apparently not been passed on to consumers of Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular, who are apparently still being charged the old rate of 1 peso per message.
The decrease in inter-carrier SMS rate was supposed to result in a new, reduced rate of 0.8 pesos per message for consumers, but carrier representatives told NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba the firms are waiting for SMS rates to be driven down by market forces.
According to ABS-CBS News, the NTC had given carriers a “non-negotiable” 12 December deadline for SMS rates to be reduced to 0.8 pesos per message.
Carriers have meanwhile argued that the reduction in inter-carrier access charge does not directly translate into savings of the same amount for consumers. A Smart Communications representative told ABS-CBN News the new average savings per SMS was closer to 0.1 pesos, and said the lower inter-carrier charges would instead empower the operator to improve on its SMS product portfolio.