Telcos must fix connection row

Three major telecommunication operators — Globe Telecom, Inc., PLDT Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp. — should set aside feuds over debts arising from supposed fraudulent international calls.

Instead, they should focus on ironing out interconnection deal to fulfill their mandate of serving the public’s interests.

“If it’s an interconnection issue, then there should be no other reason why the telcos should prevent another telco from interconnecting with it. In this particular case, that is the issue being propounded by DITO,” Eliseo Rio, a former commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission, said in a television interview.

“The interconnection always has to be answered first. Telcos cannot limit what is required by the other telco to have their subscribers get in touch with their subscribers.”

Citing Executive Order 59 issued by late President Fidel V. Ramos in 1993, he said it mandated that “the interconnection between NTC-approved telcos shall be compulsory.”

“That’s what the EO is all about. It’s an anti-competitive measure because a dominant telco could easily not allow a lesser telco to communicate with his or her subscriber, so the subscribers of the lesser telco will be the ones suffering. We don’t like that,” he added.

Govt needs to step in

International simple resale activities, according to Rio, had been a problem in the market, but those “were never used to restrict interconnection between and among telcos.”

Rio, who also served as undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, said the government should give “more focus” on DITO’s complaints as “the public will suffer” if the interconnection issue continues.

DITO filed cases before the Philippine Competition Commission last week about the anti-competitive practices of Globe and Smart in their interconnection agreements.

Officials from DITO earlier said that 70 percent to 80 percent of calls to other operators do not get through, way below the NTC’s requirement that an interconnection quality must have a failure rate of no more than 1 percent.

Both Globe and Smart responded to the claim, reiterating that they have always played fair in the market.

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