Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NTC says expiry period for prepaid load can be scrapped

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said the expiry period for prepaid load can be set aside under a 17-year-old memorandum circular.

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The regulatory body made the statement during a Senate hearing held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, to probe the imposition by telcos of an expiration period on the validity of prepaid and the forfeiture of load credits.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, pressed during the hearing for longer validity periods for prepaid loads.

The advocacy group has proposed to set “dormancy periods” in which a SIM card without any call, text or data transactions for a year will be considered dormant and “dormancy deductions” in which from the time a SIM card is considered dormant, one credit will be deducted per day until the credits are zeroed out and the SIM card can finally be deactivated.

“We have to consider what is best for the highest interest of our consumers,” said Poe, adding that the current rules issued in 2009 which set a minimum validity of three days is quite brief.

“Ang mga mahihirap na kadalasang walang kapasidad na bumili nang mas mahal na load ay napupwersang bumili nang paunti-unting load sa maliit na halaga para lamang ma-maintain na active ang kanilang SIM card,” Poe added.

The NTC said that scrapping the expiry period is feasible under NTC Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009, which provides longer expiration or validity periods for loads with higher values.

Based on the circular, credits worth P10 or lower will be valid for three days from the previous one-day expiration. Loads more than P10 up to P50 can be used for 15 days while credits worth more than P50 up to P100 will remain valid for 30 days.

Loads more than P100 to P150 will expire at the end of 45 days while credits of more than P150 to P250 will last for 60 days. More than P250 to P300 will remain valid for 75 days while credits worth more than P300 will last for 120 days.

The committee tackled Senate Bill No. 848 or the proposed Prepaid Load Protection Act filed by Sen. Ralph Recto that seeks to impose penalties and fines for prohibited acts such as imposition of an expiration period on the validity of unused prepaid call and text cards, forfeiture of load credits stored on an active prepaid phone account via prepaid call and text card or electronic transfer, and refusal to give a refund on any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause.


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