The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has cut down the interconnection charges for short messaging service (SMS) among telecom operators, in an attempt to provide users with more affordable rates for sending text messages. According to reports, the regulatory authority has ordered that the interconnection charge for SMS between two separate telecommunications networks should not exceed $0.003 (15 centavos) per SMS through its Memorandum Circular No. 02-10-2011. Consequently, the new rates will come down by $0.005 (20 centavos) from $0.008 (35 centavos).
As per sources, Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC Commissioner has said that the enactment of the new SMS interconnection rates was in line was in line with the provisions of the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, which seeks the establishment of fair and reasonable interconnection among public operators and other telecommunications service providers at reasonable and fair cost. He further said that the reduced SMS interconnection rate would translate to lower retail price of text messaging services and make the popular telecommunication services more accessible and affordable to a greater number of people throughout the country. Currently, telecom operators charge a rate of $0.002 (10 centavos) per text message within their network, however the rates for messages sent across different operators increase with the additional cost of the network receiving the text message along with the interconnection charge of $0.008 (35 centavos) per message.
Further, under the same circular, network operators were also ordered to ensure that they have the adequate facilities required to guarantee that 99 percent of the text messages reach their destination within 30 seconds of being sent. In order to achieve this, it is proposed that all networks involved in the interconnection should provide the required links or circuits to effectively handle their SMS traffic.