Telcos’ greed, worse than power firms

Tue, Dec 22, 2009


Consumer group TXTPower today kept the pressure at the country’s telecommunications companies for refusing to implement per-pulse charging that would lower cellphone calling rates.

“Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular act as if they are masters of the industry who follow no one except the beat of their bankers,” said TXTPower president Tonyo Cruz, who attended and spoke at Monday’s hearing by the Senate trade and commerce committee.

“Telcos must be made to understand that they operate public-utility companies that are imbued with the public interest like fair billing billing practices and low pricing. They have to follow the country’s laws,” said Cruz.

According to the eight-year old consumer group, the power industry abides by regulatory practices and policies of the Energy Regulatory Commission while the telcos merely want the National Telecommunications Commission “to follow their own whimsical and capricious practices.”

Instead of complying with the new NTC Circular mandating a shift from per-minute to per-pulse billing, the telcos Smart and Globe made the new billing scheme optional with the companies requiring subscribers to use prefixes to be charged per-pulse.

“That is not compliance. That is a clear violation of the circular,” said Cruz.

Cruz reminded the telcos that their congressional franchises Batas Pambansa 95 for Globe, Republic Act 7294 for Smart and Republic Act 7678 require them to follow rates set by the NTC.

TXTPower singled out Globe Telecom president Ernest Cu who admitted in an interview on ABS-CBNNews.com that “If you’re a telco, how do you convince a farmer to spend his money on prepaid load over food? And
how can you make him choose you over the other telco? How do you keep him spending? That’s where the challenge is.”

“That is not only callous. It is a mindset that is totally against the public-utility nature of the telecommunications sector,” said Cruz.

“The intransigence of the telcos’ over the NTC circular on per-pulse billing is only the latest and most brazen violation of consumer rights that they have done so far. Consumers have a long list of complaints which hopefully the NTC would act on and compel them to resolve,” said Cruz. ###

3 Comments For This Post

  1. kettythomasan Says:

    It might be surprising for many people but I don’t think it’s a big issue. It is the thing happens everywhere as each person is greedy in themselves. I think everything is fair in politics and business so it’s a normal thing which is expected. Pandora battery

  2. Michael978 Says:

    It’s an old issue, but it is an issue that we should not stop fighting for. To show why we should not stop pressuring the Telcos to remove the expiry dates of Prepaid loads, let me explain how grossly unfair and ridiculous this practice is.

    When you buy Prepaid load, you are already giving your money IN ADVANCE, or BEFORE you actually use the load that you bought. The Cell telephone companies, or Telcos, are able to use your money or make it earn interest in their bank deposits, before you are able to consume your load.

    Why then should Telcos CONFISCATE your remaining load you have already bought and paid for in advance from them? The load is already YOUR PROPERTY. It doesn’t belong to the Telco anymore.

    Let me give an example to show how ridiculously UNFAIR THIS IS. It is just like buying a sack of rice, and you are told by the grocery owner that you have to consume the sack of rice in 20 days. You, the customer, is pressured by the grocery owner to eat the rice fast. On the 21st day, the grocery people go to your house, and CONFISCATE the rice that you HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR, but have not yet consumed. Then they sell that remainder rice to other people, with the same conditions. How ridiculous is that?

    You are the customer, and you are the one making the grocery stay in business, for no business can survive without customers. And yet it is the businessman, who is DEPENDENT ON YOU for the survival of his business, who DICTATES how fast you must consume the rice you already paid for. Isn’t that a ridiculous situation?

    That is the same with buying Prepaid loads. Why should the Telcos control how you use your load? You have already paid for it in advance. It is yours, and the Telcos should not dictate you on how fast you must consume your load.

    The telephone companies or Telcos argue, that they are incurring OVERHEAD expenses in keeping your unused load in their servers. BULLSHIT. Telcos like Globe, Smart and Sun can maintain the un-used load in TENS OF MILLIONS of unsold Sims for years and years. And Globe, a major Telco, is able to maintain the un-used load in their Immortal Text promo, for as long as you don’t use it. Anybody who understand how servers work will know that this explanation from the Telcos is simply a big lie.

    Their big OVERHEADS actually come from the HUGE SALARIES they pay to their owners who are CEOs or Presidents, or senior officials in their companies. Their HUGE SALARIES alone are already enough income for them to have recovered their investments, and make a profit from their Telco business.

    Their other big OVERHEAD EXPENSES come from the enormous amounts of money they are paying the CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS, and MALACANANG, just so that NO LAW will be passed to make expiry dates of Prepaid loads as ILLEGAL.

    Telco owners are just greedy, for they worship money as their god. They forget that as utilities, they are supposed to RENDER SERVICE, and earn a DECENT PROFIT. But what they are doing is they make shameless and INDECENT PROFITS in the BILLIONS of pesos, from the HUGE SALARIES to the owners, the profits they make from sales of their loads, and the EXTRAORDINARY PROFITS they make from selling Prepaid loads, confiscating them, selling the same CONFISCATED LOADS, again and again to their MILLIONS OF SUBSCRIBERS AND CUSTOMERS.

    What all the Telcos should remember, is that A REALLY LARGE MAJORITY of their customers are Prepaid buyers. For the majority of the Filipinos are poor, no thanks to our POLITICIANS. So in effect, when the Telcos CONFISCATE loads, they are really STEALING, although LEGALLY (for now), what belongs to the MAJORITY of poor Filipinos.

    Let us carry on the fight by making our voices heard. For this purpose, I have set up a website, GrumblePost.com, to enable the ordinary citizens to voice out their complaints against the Telcos’ unfair practices. There is always strength in making our unified voices heard.


    God bless us all.

  3. Michael978 Says:

    To Tonyo Cruz.

    I have always admired your spending your energies and time in fighting injustice. I also admire the resolve that the founders of TxtPower have shown in fighting this grossly unfair practice of Telcos confiscating Prepaid loads, by setting expiry to the loads.

    Expiry dates are only good for medicines or food, in order to prevent poisoning people who might consume medicines or food that are chemically expired.

    Prepaid loads are not ingestible, so why should they have expiration dates. No body gets harmed if consumers use their unused load after so many months or years from date of purchase.

    This fight for the removal of expiration dates should be continued and sustained until victory is won by the Filipino people.

    In this regard, I would be honored to work with you or the TxtPower people.

    My email address is MichaelGuardia978@gmail.com.
    Or you can send me a message at 09278377081.
    My website is http://www.grumblepost.com/

    God bless you and all your companions

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