With lower interconnection rates, Filipinos can now enjoy voice calls and SMS at a cheaper price. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a final Memorandum Circular (MC). In the MC, interconnection charges were reduced to Php0.50 per minute from Php2.50 for voice service, and Php0.05 per text from Php0.15 per text.
The move was a result of the Department Order No. 002 issued by the Department of Information and Technology (DICT) instructing the NTC to study and come up with guidelines that will bring down the cost of interconnection. A public hearing was conducted, allowing telecommunication companies to respond and submit their position papers pertaining to the Memorandum Circular drafted by NTC.
The final MC was issued by the telecommunications agency on July 19, 2018. The reduced interconnection rates are expected to benefit consumers across socio-economic classes, making voice call and SMS services between networks more affordable. This will also allow telcos to attract more subscribers and offer a wide variety of unlimited plans and services.
Significantly, the issued Memorandum Circular will benefit landline subscribers and users of basic 2G mobile phones nationwide, majority of whom belong to the marginalized sectors of society. This development puts the Philippines among the lowest interconnection rates in Southeast Asia.
Personally, this is good news particularly in reference to voice service. The Philippines was called the “TEXT” capital of the world. That has been attributed to the growth of cellular subscribers. But aside from that, I can say that we all opted to just send SMS instead of calling because voice service is quite expensive.
With lower interconnection rates, we will be able to take advantage of voice service more for personal and business purposes. Also, communications will much faster and clearer because of direct communications. One thing I hope is that cellular signal would be available in all of the Philippines, having experienced “no signal” in some of the places I’ve been to.