Cellphone Load Expiry Period Made Longer

e-loads2After two (2) rounds of joint public hearings by the Senate committees on trade and commerce and public services, the National Telecommunications Commission issued NTC Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009 where prepaid credits of mobile phones – popularly known as “load” – will now have longer expiration dates. The new rules will take effect fifteen (15) days after  the publication of the memorandum circular in newspapers unless the cellular phone companies can again get a restraining order from the court that will prevent the implementation of the order like what happened nine (9) years ago in the case of  Memorandum Circular 13-06-2000 which indicated that the expiry period of prepaid phone cards should not be less than two (2) years.

Under the new rules contained in the NTC memorandum circular issued last Friday, 3 July 2009, all prepaid cellphone loads will have longer expiration or validity periods as follows:

  • Loads worth PhP10.00 or lower will be valid for three (3) days, up from the previous one-day expiration.
  • Loads of more than PhP10.00 up to PhP50.00 can now be used for 15 days instead of just five (5) days maximum under the old practice.
  • Load credits of more than PhP50.00 up to PhP100.00 will remain valid for thirty (30) days instead of just up to ten (10) days before.
  • Loads more than PhP100.00 to PhP150.00 will expire at the end of forty-five (45) days while credits of more than P150.00 to P250.00 will last for sixty (60) days.
  • More than PhP250.00 to PhP300 will remain valid for seventy-five (75) days while credits worth more than PhP300.00 will last for  one hundred twenty (120) days.

The new circular provides that the loads’ validity will start upon confirmation receipt of amount purchased. Newly-purchased credits will be added to unused loads, thereby extending the validity of the total loads as in if a subscriber with an unused load of PhP20.00 buys PhP10.00 worth of new credits, the new validity period is 15 days, the NTC explained. The new rule also provide that accessing balance inquiry services through text messaging should be free of charge.

All of the above-stated provisions of the NTC Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009 are welcome news for the prepaid cellphone subscribers but how about the e-load retailers (internet café owners doing online loading  included), distributors and the cellular phone companies? There was no mention in the news about the expected negative effect on the sales revenues of this business sector but as a former retailer myself, I could guess a minimum of twenty-five (25%) decline on e-load sales.

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