One-year expiry period for P300 prepaid load and above takes effect

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The joint memorandum circular issued by the government mandating a one-year expiration for prepaid load took effect on Friday, Jan. 5, but only for P300 and above loads.

Top officials of the DICT, DTI, and NTC show the joint memorandum circular imposing a one-year validity for prepaid loads
Top officials of the DICT, DTI, and NTC show the joint memorandum circular imposing a one-year validity for prepaid loads

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), one of the signatories of the circular, said the government is giving local telcos an extra six months to adjust their systems for prepaid values below P300.

After the grace period, all regular prepaid loads no matter what amount will be valid for one year, according to DICT undersecretary and officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio.

?We allowed this to prevent their systems from the possibility of crashing if changes are made abruptly, which will not only highly inconvenience the consuming public but may even cause serious damage to the telco industry,? Rio stated in a Facebook post.

Rio said the DICT has instructed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to monitor closely and address all complaints of prepaid loads being eaten up before the present expiration periods lapsed and during the adjustment period.

?We apologize for giving the public false expectations, but if we have to err, it would be on the side of being 100% certain that nothing untoward will happen,? he said.

Both telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communication said they will comply with the memorandum circular but also welcomed the six-month extension for denominations below P300.

“We are grateful to the three agencies for the grant of a six-month extension period before the full implementation of the memorandum circular. This provides us more time to implement the extensive reconfiguration of our IT and other support systems, and to conduct the needed tests, in order to ensure trouble-free implementation of the new expiry period,” Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto said in a statement.

Isberto said all Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid loads worth P300 and above will have a one-year validity, regardless of the validity period printed on the physical cards already out in the market.

Meanwhile, Globe general counsel Froilan Castelo said in a statement that telecommunications as a business requires complex and real-time systems that should be extensively tested.

?The six-month extension will give us ample time to prepare for the smooth and seamless implementation of the expiration change across all denominations,? he said.

Castelo said among the changes that Globe will address include the expansion of capacity as the extension of the load expiry will require additional capacity and additional cost.

?While we have built adequate capacity for 2018, we will need to build more capacity and purchase additional licenses to accommodate the change. This will include purchase of licenses and software programming by third-party vendors,? he stressed.

He said they will also conduct optimization and interoperability tests to minimize any adverse impact to customers when the changes are implemented and expand the capacity of several information technology systems.

Castelo said that to fully implement the change, Globe will also need additional number series from the NTC.

?Otherwise, we will run out of numbers as a direct result of the longer load expiration period. Moreover, we need to define and fully test the new number series before making them available for our new customers,? he said.

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