Philippine operators have implemented a mandated cut to inter-carrier SMS rates, and must now aim to comply with SMS delivery rate targets.
According to Malaya, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular have informed regulator NTC that SMS access charges will be lowered by 0.20 pesos ($0.005) per message, from a rate of 0.35 pesos per message . This lowered rate is expected to be passed on to consumers, who currently pay around 1 peso per message.
The new rates, expected to take effect today, form part of a memorandum circular issued by the NTC on 24 October.
The circular, which also covered service efficiency levels, instructed telcos to aim for a 99% delivery rate within 30 seconds from the time an SMS is sent. According to the circular, telcos should sufficiently provide interconnection links or circuits to handle SMS traffic. The Philippines is one the world’s largest markets for SMS use.
Telcos were also expected to continue unlimited text and voice offerings during the peak Christmas and New Year seasons.
A further memorandum circular on voice calls is on the horizon and expected to be completed by year-end. Contained in the draft circular is a proposed lowering of access charges over three years, at 2 pesos per minute, 1.5 pesos per minute and 1 peso per minute for the first, second and third year respectively.
According to ABS CBN News, consumers can expect to enjoy reduced rates of between 3 and 4 pesos per minute in the first year, 2 pesos per minute in the second year and 1 peso per minute in the third year, should the proposal be approved.