Benefiting From ‘Unlitext’ Promos

Unlimited SMS (short messaging system) or ‘unlitext‘ is a promo of the cellular phone company where a prepaid subscriber is allowed to send unlimited number of maximum 160-character messages within a certain period of time (normally for 24 hours) for a fixed amount. In the Philippines, a text message costs one (PhP1.00) in regular rate but with ‘unlitext’, it could go infinitely low for as long as the subscriber sends the messages within the prescribed period.

For example, if a cellphone company offers ‘unlitext’ for PhP20.00 per day and the subscriber was able to send 200 messages, then the rate he paid was only ten (PhP0.10) centavos per text. Very enticing figure indeed but do you really need to avail of an ‘unlitext’ promo everytime you feel you gonna save that much with your text messaging? Think about it, do you really need to instantly spend PhP20.00 just because you need to 5 messages in a row and possibly reply with the same number of text messages. More often than not, if you are a normal cellphone user and you keep track of your charges for SMS usage, you will know that you do not need the ‘unlitext’ promo.

So who really need to avail of ‘unlitext promos? Who really benefit from them? Definitely, I am not one of them (I use Gmail’s free SMS when I’m online) but I could mention a few as follows:

  • Invitors – individual persons who need to invite a large number of people to attend celebrations such as birthday party, wedding, anniversary, fiesta, etc.
  • Organizations – normally non-profit associations or clubs that need to send out announcements and invitations to their members to attend meetings and assemblies.
  • Third-Party Unlimited Text Messaging Providers – these beneficiaries of telcos’ ‘unlitext promos will soon be gone because our telecom regulatory body (NTC) had recently ordered that all ‘unlitext promos’ should now apply to all messages irregardless of the network to which the message is sent. In the past, ‘unlitext promos’ are ‘within network only’ so some enterprising people were able to operate as third-party all-network unlimited text messaging provider without even securing value-added service (VAS) license from NTC.
  • Spammers –  NTC has prohibited the sending of spam messages soliciting subscriptions to value-added services but there are still some spammers who have nothing better to do and use ‘unlitext promos’ to send some useless messages like “hello”, “hi” and the like to random numbers  to while away the time.
  • Swindlers – this group of ‘unlitext promo’ beneficiary has to be differentiated from spammers as those likely to cause harm to unknowing victims. Using the promo, they send messages to different people telling them that ‘they won a raffle’ and that they have to shell out so much amount to claim the prize. Others pretend to be a relative who borrowed a cellphone to male an emergency text message to seek financial help from the receiver.

Without hesitation, I say that the ‘unlitext promos’ are subsidized not by the telcos but by the cellphone subscribers who do not avail of them and send regular-priced one-peso text messages. I want to add that the telcos benefit a lot from ‘unlitext promos’. With these promos, their public image is enhanced in the guise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) when in fact they make a killing by overcharging the regular text messages sent by their ordinary subscribers.

Just last night, an NTC official said in nationwide television that the reason given by the telcos on why did not cut the regular SMS rate despite the reduction of interconnection access charge from PhP0.35 to PhP0.15 was the ‘unlitext promos’ that they now have to offer as ‘all-network’ instead of ‘within network’ only. If this is true, why don’t they stop the ‘unlitext promos’ and charge their text messaging service at the correct price? More on this later.

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