On the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to make goods and services affordable and accessible to consumers, particularly the marginalized, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has immediately put forward the proposal to reduce the TELCO interconnection rates to the New Major Player Oversight Committee.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) then issued Department Order No. 002 directing the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to study and formulate the guidelines that will bring down the cost of interconnection.
In the draft Memorandum Circular (MC) drafted by the NTC following a study, interconnection charges were reduced to P 0.50 per minute from P 2.50 per minute for voice service and P 0.05 per text from P 0.15 per text for SMS.
A public hearing was conducted to enable telecommunication companies to comment and submit their position paperspertaining to the MC.
On July 19, 2018, the final MC was issued by the NTC.
The reduced interconnection rates are expected to benefit consumers across socio-economic classes, making voice call and SMS services between networks more affordable. This will also allow telcos to attract more subscribers and offer a wide variety of unlimited plans and services.
Significantly, the MC will benefit landline subscribers and users of basic 2G mobile phones nationwide, majority of whom belong to the marginalized sectors of society.