Second Hearing On Vanishing Prepaid Loads

e-loadsAnd so, Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile lost P180 on his prepaid phone load because he subscribed to or downloaded four (4) different ring tones. This was revealed by the head of Globe Telecom’s content provider for ring tones during the second round of hearings on the case of vanishing loads that was held at the Senate last June 24, 2009. The public hearing is being held in aid of legislation and upon the initiative of  Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile who lost P400 worth of prepaid cell phone load credits allegedly without even touching his phone.

Senate Pres. Enrile previously denied downloading ring tones because he said he did not even know how to send text messages. For the unintiated, ring tones are subscribed to when the cellular phone company’s unsolicited text messages sent to subscribers are agreed to by pressing some keys on their cell phone units. The cost of the subscription is immediately deducted from the subcriber’s load credits as soon as the ring tones are downloaded.

The loss of prepaid phone loads is just one of the issues on this “in aid of legislation” Senate public hearing. The more important is how the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) regulate the telecommunication companies (telcos). On the issue of setting the call rate on per-second basis instead of the current per-minute charging, the senators were appalled when one of the NTC commissioners insisted that the agency only had “residual powers” in dealing with telcos and that the telecommunication industry had been deregulated. The senators said that the NTC had the power to set rates that were “reasonable and fair” otherwise it should be abolished.

Now, why must this issue of vanishing prepaid loads concern you as café owner aside from your being a prepaid cellular phone subscriber? Is it not obvious that if this is the line of reasoning by NTC on regulating cell phone subscriptions then it is very possible that the agency will also reason out the same way on the issue of broadband Internet connection. We read and hear lots of complaints about slow, intermittent and zero DSL connections day-in and day-out but what are the standard replies of our Internet service providers (ISPs)? Either there is an ongoing system restoration, facilities upgrade and what-not but the same poor service exists.

The results of this Senate hearing should concern us because of its would-be repercussion on the broadband services that the telcos are giving to the Internet cafés in the country. At this juncture, it would have been much better if the quality of service by our ISPs is included in the hearing. But sad to say, in the absence of a voice for the industry, we could only watch the proceedings from the sideline with the hope that our current problems on our ISPs would crop up and get discussed in the hearing.

NOTE: Your comments are welcome here but you may wish to proceed to Café Forum for your questions and comments.

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