DICT orders telcos to slash interconnection fees

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MANILA — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered local telecommunications companies to bring down the interconnection charges they impose on subscribers making calls or sending text messages across networks.

This initiative comes amid preparations for the entry of a new player that will encourage competition in the local telco industry.

Under its Department Order No. 002 dated May 11, the DICT has directed the NTC to formulate measures that will ensure lower interconnection rates for both mobile voice and short messaging services (SMS) being offered by the telcos.

The department noted that mobile voice and SMS rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia.

“There is a need to make the mobile voice service and short message service in the Philippines more affordable for the ordinary Filipino consumer,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said.

“Affordable interconnection rates would encourage competition and would attract new major telecommunications players by creating a healthy environment conducive for competition and playing field,” he added.

The interconnection rate is a fee charged by a telco to its subscribers whenever they call and text another person from a different operator.

Currently, the interconnection fee for voice calls is at PHP 2.50 per minute, while text messaging is at 15 centavos per text.

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