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Senators asked to prod DICT to roll back high telco fees.

THE Senate is poised to hold hearings on a resolution seeking to roll back 'exorbitant' fees charged by telecommunication companies for text messages as soon as Congress convenes regular sessions on July 22.

'One peso is way too much to pay for every text message you send,' Senator-elect Imee Marcos said Thursday after filing Senate Resolution 6, asserting that cheaper text messages and enforcing a strict price ceiling are 'long overdue.'

Marcos's resolution strongly urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to 'immediately reduce and set a strict one-centavo price ceiling on the exorbitant cost' of text messages.

'We must balance the business interests of our telco providers and make sure that they abide by the global trend toward cheaper and faster services to the public,' the neophyte senator said.

She noted that while the recent entry of a third telco provider, Dito Telecommunity, is expected to offer lower customer fees charged by existing telco giants Smart and Globe, 'the public should already enjoy lower charges, particularly on the short message service [SMS] or text messages.'

Marcos maintained that even if text messages would cost only one centavo each, 'the three telco providers would still be able to profit from that.'

The senator asserted that text messaging services are 'a practically costless forwarding service that piggybacks on a readily available signal.'

In a statement, Marcos explained that so-called handshake or persistent communication between a cellular communications tower and a handset allows the delivery of text messages, which are small and simple relative to more data-Intensive internet-based communications.

She stressed that the overhead cost of forwarding text messages is 'far less than real-time mobile data transfer.'

At the same time, Marcos lamented that despite the billions in profit raked in by telco providers from text messaging, Internet speed available to Filipinos lags behind that in other Southeast Asian countries.

The senator suggested that lower SMS fees will reduce the cost of doing business, particularly among small-scale entrepreneurs, who frequently communicate with their customers through text messages, adding that the flow of information and knowledge-sharing among lower-income users will also be encouraged.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 12, 2019
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