Revilla warns telcos: Make refund pronto

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ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) or risk having their franchises revoked. [caption id="attachment_6516" align="alignright" width="169" caption="Revilla"][/caption] ?Rather than dillydallying, the telcos must oblige to the refund directive of the NTC as soon as possible if they do not want to lose their customers,? Revilla said in a statement. ?The government had already spoken. They should not wait for public outrage to arise before they act. Considering the financial difficulties nowadays, cellphone subscribers whether post-payers o pre-payers are eagerly waiting to receive the refund,? he added. ?The proper government regulator has already issued its order and they should comply. If they don’t, I, as chairman of Senate Committee on Public Services, will initiate a review of the telcos’ franchises as this may be a ground for their revocation,? Revilla said. The franchise or the license to operate as a telephone company is issued by the Congress, which also has the power to revoke or suspend it. ?Dapat agarang isauli sa pinakamadali at maayos na paraan ng mga telcos sa kanilang subscribers ang sobrang isiningil nila. Magandang pamasko ito sa publiko. Ang mga ganitong positibong bagay ang dapat natatanggap nila at dapat pagtuonan ng pansin ng pamahalaan, hindi mga panukalang gaya ng text tax na magdaragdag pa ng panibagong pasanin sa kanila,? he concluded. Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino has chided the regulatory body for ?taking eons? to implement the text rate regulation. ?This regulation is long since overdue. Millions and millions of pesos have been illegally collected by telcos because NTC has been moving at a glacial pace for its implementation. If NTC pursued this directive in full force, there would be no need to reimburse subscribers now,? Palatino said. ?The expiration of the unli-profit scheme utilized by telcos to overcharge consumers has long since passed. NTC must stand its ground and implement the SMS refund immediately,? he added. ?The NTC pointed out that the savings realized from the reduced interconnection charge on SMS sent to other networks was formulated not to simply benefit the telcos but was intended for them to pass on the savings to their subscribers,? the memorandum read. The memo was supposed to take effect as early as November last year. However, telcos did not comply to the said order, which resulted to the overcharging of at least P1.42 billion, Palatino said. Based on 2010 NTC data, around 20 million off-net messages are sent each day. ?Profit-driven telcos have long exploited the lax regulations on SMS in the country to squeeze more money from their subscribers. It is but just to refund the millions they have illegally collected to consumers,? Palatino ? one of the convenors of SMS advocacy group TXTPower ? explained. Palatino also urged Congress to pass stricter regulatory laws on mobile phone text and call rates, particularly House Bill No. 5653 or the ?Mobile Phone Subscribers Act,? which was principally authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casi?o. HB 5653 seeks to ?promote the rights of mobile phone subscribers by regulating prices, requiring telecommunications service companies to provide detailed billing of both prepaid credits and postpaid consumption, number portability, lowered pulse rate and other service improvements? for the benefit of over 100 million mobile phone subscribers in the country. The bill, of which Palatino is a co-author, has been pending in the House Committee on Trade and Industry since January this year. ?Telcos have been exploiting consumers for so long. Kahit na may mga unli promo na sila, lumalabas na daan-daang milyon pa rin ang nakukulimbat nila sa overcharging,? Palatino said. ?The case of the telcos? blatant disobedience of NTC regulations just illustrates how toothless the said regulatory body is at present. We need a stronger law to protect mobile phone users from the rash effect of the deregulated telecom industry,? Palatino added. ?Text messaging is an essential tool for communication in this day and age. The youth sector will always oppose any move that will increase the cost of SMS, including the profiteering schemes of telcos and new text tax laws,? Palatino ended.]]>

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