Telcos ask CA to stop SMS refund order
MANILA, Philippines – Telecommunication companies on Tuesday, May 27, asked the appellate court to stop the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from enforcing orders directing them to refund over P7 billion in excess text messaging fees.
Smart Communications and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc filed separate petitions for review before the Court of Appeals (CA) to have the NTC orders revoked.
In its petition before the CA, Digitel asked the CA for a 60-day temporary restraining order against the implementation of the refund order on the company.
The NTC issued separate orders on May 7 to Smart, Digitel, and Globe Telecommunications Inc, denying the telcos' motions for reconsideration (MRs). The MRs sought to reverse a December 2011 NTC order to roll back interconnection fees to P0.15 from P0.35.
As a result, the companies were directed to reimburse their subscribers the excess charge of P0.20 per text message sent from one network to another.
For its part, Smart claimed it did not overcharge its subscribers. Text messaging is "classified as a value-added service and is therefore deregulated," the company said in a statement.
"Moreover, even without the NTC order, the concerned operators have been lowering SMS rates through various service offers due to intense competition," Smart added.
Globe, on the other hand, filed on May 23 a motion for extension of time to file petition for review before the CA.
Globe asked the appellate court to extend the May 23 deadline set by law to appeal the order. Globe said it intended "to appeal" before the CA, but its drafted petition was still undergoing "extensive revision."
"This motion is not intended for delay but only out of an earnest desire to fully ventilate all the relevant issues in this case," Globe's motion read.
Globe is a unit of Ayala Corporation. Smart and Digitel are subsidiaries of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). – Rappler.com