July 12, 2019
Sen. María Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos has urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology to reduce the cost of a text message from P1 to one centavo.
“One peso is way too much to pay for every text message you send and that cheaper text messages and a strict price ceiling are long overdue,” Marcos said.
Marcos has filed Senate Resolution 6 to make sure that telecommunication company (telco) providers abide by the global trend toward cheaper and faster services to the public.
According to Marcos, the recent entry of the third telco provider Dito Telecommunity Corp., formerly Mislatel Consortium, would likely lower customer fees charged by industry rivals Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom.
Mislatel Consortium or the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. is comprised of Udenna Corp., China Telecommunications Corp. and Chelsea Logistics.
The Philippine government awarded a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Dito on Monday, officially allowing its operation as the third telco provider in the country.
But Marcos said the public should already enjoy lower charges, particularly on the short message service (SMS) or text messages.
“Even if text messages cost only one centavo each, the three telco providers would still be able to profit from that,” the neophyte senator said.
Marcos said text-messaging services were “a practically costless forwarding service that piggybacks on a readily available signal.”
She said the so-called “handshake” or persistent communication between a cellular communications tower and a handset allows the delivery of text messages, which were small and simple relative to more data-intensive internet-based communications.
“The overhead cost of forwarding text messages is far less than real-time mobile data transfer,” Marcos said.
Despite the billions in profit raked in by telco providers from text messaging, Marcos said internet speed available to Filipinos lagged behind that of other Southeast Asian countries.
The Philippines placed 33rd in Asia and 23rd in Asia-Pacific in mobile broadband internet speed, based on the 2019 Speedtest Global Index. It ranked 103rd among 139 surveyed countries in terms of mobile internet speed.
The index put the country’s average mobile internet download speed at 15.06 Megabits per second (Mbps), far below the global average of 26.12 Mbps.
“Lower SMS fees will reduce the cost of doing business, particularly among small-scale entrepreneurs, who frequently communicate with their customers through text messages,” she added.
Marcos said the flow of information and knowledge-sharing among lower-income users would also be encouraged.
With a reports from LEANDER C. DOMINGO
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