Probe sought on delayed refund of ?overcharged? P7-B SMS fee

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Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares[/caption] In House Resolution 1116, Bayan Muna representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate said the NTC directed the Ayala-led Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Digital Mobile Philippines (Sun Cellular) on December 1, 2011 through Memorandum Circular No. 02-10-2011 to reduce their SMS rate to “other networks” from P1 to 80 centavos. The NTC also ordered the telcos to refund the 20-centavo reduction of SMS rates to all their subscribers starting December 1, 2011 but no refund has been made until now, the lawmakers said. “The telcos have refused to follow the order of the NTC since 2011 and we have received reports that every NTC initiative or order has been ignored by the telcos,” Colmenares said. Colmenares said the telcos even issued statements that they will challenge the NTC directive in the Court of Appeals, further lengthening the injustice done to subscribers. The NTC order covers about two billion text messages sent everyday, with two percent of these or 40 million text messages not under a bucket-pricing plan, according to Colmenares. “At a 20-centavo refund, that translates to about P8 million in industry-wide refunds for each day for the last two years and six months. Based on these figures, the telecommunications companies should refund their subscribers by P7 billion,” Colmenares said. Zarate called on the NTC to impose stiffer sanctions to telcos for non-compliance to protect the rights of the subscribers. As it is now, Zarate said, “the penalty imposed by the NTC for not following its orders is a measly P200 per day fine, that is weaker than a tap on the wrist of telco giants.” “The NTC must come out with practical solutions and higher sanctions to impose on telcos so that subscribers will get their hard-earned money?s worth and for the telcos to recognize its authority and power,” Zarate said. ]]>

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