DICT, NTC and Telcos Agree To Lower Interconnection Rates of Voice Services to P2.50

DICT Building, Quezon City—Top executives of Globe and PLDT with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Salalima and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba convened earlier today at the DICT Building, following a memorandum issued by the NTC to reduce the interconnection rates of voice services in the country. Previously, voice call charges from one service provider to another vary, creating a riff between users to avoid these extra charges when connecting to another network. With the standardization of rates, the NTC and the telecom companies aim to make voice rates more affordable to the public.

Secretary Salalima said, that while this was a response to President Duterte’s call to bring down the rates of telecom services during his speech at the APEC Leader’s Meeting, telcos have been talking about lowering the prices even before the statement. Ernesto R. Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer of the PLDT Inc. Group confirmed that this was a case of regulation, chasing reality, mirroring the market condition; with Commissioner Cordoba verifying that 50 percent of the telecommunications market uses smartphones, and the other half uses basic cellular phones, indicating that half of the country still relies on voice services as opposed to the modern notion of relying on internet connections. Gil B. Genio, Chief Officer of the Technology and Information Office of Globe says that: “data growth is rising, but voice traffic continues to grow…lowering the interconnect[ion rates] can produce more aggressive voice call [promos] moving forward.”

Secretary Salalima describes this gesture as “one of the steps in provisioning [making telecommunication services,] available for the masses. We precisely talked it out with the regulators for the purpose of addressing concerns.” He further adds the future plans to improve services with the coordination of the government and private sectors: “Even as we are talking here, there is an ongoing meeting for the National Broadband Plan which will be implemented in three years.”