Missing cellphone load

It is election time and some politicians are now busy knocking on the door of telecom companies for attention.  Mobile phone operators such as Smart and Globe Telecom are the most profitable companies today, no question asked, and politicians look at them as milking cow this election campaign season… Which turned out to be beneficial to subscribers, ironically.

How, you may ask.  Well thanks to politicians, there is now an effort to make telecom companies more accountable for missing load, which were paid for by subscribers with hard-earned money that a decade ago was spent for food and education.  Now, people waste their money on value added services, such as downloading mobile games or joining online contests for a prize that are actually forms of gambling.

Finally, a consumer group, had the galls to file a class suit before the National Telecommunication Commission or NTC, against the country's three major mobile phone operators for allegedly robbing subscribers of millions of pesos in the form of vanishing electronic load.

The Cellphone Owners and Users of the Philippines or COUP, led by lawyer Rod Domingo, said it was "taking up the cudgels for more than 50 million Filipinos whose lives have been affected irresibly by cellular phones."

In their complaint, the six-year-old group filed the case against Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Digital Telecommunications, which owns the Sun Cellular brand.  They asked the NTC to issued a cease and desist order on the telecom firms from continuously and unabashedly collecting from unsolicited messages or spam, interrupted or dropped calls, missed calls, delayed text messages and failed messages.

The NTC was set to issue at least five memorandum circulars, containing consumer protection provisions against the excesses of the telecom operators and content providers this week, but things became complicated.  Smart claimed that it was in talks with the NTC regarding the proposed circulars.  Why should a government agency consult a telecom firm to protect the subscribers?  To protect the subscribers, isn't it wise to consult the subscribers themselves?

The NTC earlier said the new memorandum circulars would contain guidelines on spam messages, expiration of electronic load, pulse billing, and revenue sharing between the telcos and the content providers.

COUP warned that it would file the same case against the telecom companies before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

"With millions of subscribers being held captive by the three telcos, we can just reasonably imagine the enormity of the amount being shiphoned by said telcos from innocent cellphone subscribers.  Even just a single centavos illegally collected on charge from each unsuspecting subscriber for every call or text message easily translates to millions of pesos," the consumer group said.

It noted that the three telcos have combined earnings of more than PhP1 billion each day, which is actually pretty accurate at this time.  


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