Case of missing cellphone loads

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The recent case of disappearing phone loads or pre-paid airtime might have been prevented if local telecommunications companies allowed government to implement stronger rules on consumer protection.

This was pointed out by National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner Ruel Canobas in an interview, as he admitted that telecommunications companies had been blocking the implementation of a memorandum circular that provides guidelines for erring companies.

Senators on Tuesday condemned the country's mobile telecommunications providers for the alleged disappearance of prepaid card credits. A hearing was held by the joint Senate public service and trade and commerce to look into the supposed disappearances of phone credits.

Canobas said NTC Memorandum Circular No. 13-06-2000 was created in 2000 but was actively countered by the telecommunications companies, including Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

The government rules cover sanctions against erring telecommunications companies, as well as rules that would require people to show identification whenever they’re buying prepaid SIM cards, mandatory billing statements for consumers, prepaid usage and interconnection.

A court injunction was later filed to prevent the NTC rules from being implemented.

Canobas said that the NTC is now seeking the lifting of the injunction.

"We've been fighting the telcos with the MC for years. Hopefully now the case would be discussed," Canobas said.

He said that if the telecommunication firms decide to lift the court injunction, there would be no need for any amendments in the laws governing telecommunications franchise, which is under Republic Act 7925.


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