Telcos to lower SMS charges

Posted at 11/29/11 5:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Text message fees are expected to go down on November 30 (Wednesday), as telecommunications companies start implementing lower access charges for short messaging services (SMS).

Smart Communications Inc., Globe Telecom Inc., and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. will start charging P0.15 per text in access charge, in compliance with the memorandum circular (MC) of the National Telecommunications Commission. The original access charge is P0.35 per text.

Access charge is the paid by a carrier for every SMS that passes through another carrier's network.  With the lower access charge, this means there will be lower SMS charges for consumers, currently pegged at P1 per text.

The P0.20 reduction in access charge translates to a P0.20 reduction in regular SMS fees for consumers, according to the NTC.

The SMS retail price includes the cost of the network sending the SMS plus cost of the network receiving the text plus the cost of the interconnection facilities.
According to the NTC memorandum circular 02-10-2011, which prescribes the maximum interconnection charge for SMS, the new fees should be imposed not later than 20 days from the circular's effectivity. The circular took effect last November 10.
Lower voice call charges?

Meanwhile, the NTC is also mulling a reduction in interconnection charges for cellular voice at a maximum of P2 per minute during the first year; and not more than P1.50 on the second year; and a maximum of P1 on year 3 onwards.
Telcos currently charges another carrier P4 per minute on interconnection for voice calls.
If the proposal is approved, voice call rates can be reduced between P3-P4 minute on the first year; P2 per minute on the following year; and P1 per minute on the third year onwards.
Currently, a minute of cellular voice call rate is pegged at P6.50. Mobile phone interconnection rates were last adjusted in 2003.
The NTC said interconnection rates to mobile service operators in the Philippines is still one of the highest in Asia.