Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications, a subsidiary of national fixed line operator PLDT, says the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), does not hold the authority – under the remit of the Telecommunications Act of 1995 – to impose price caps on the access charges which are levied on short messaging service (SMS) and voice services. According to a report from the local Inquirer newspaper, the operator’s position is the one currently being taken by a number of mobile companies in the country during a public hearing Wednesday to discuss a draft recommendation to cut mobile operators’ access charges. In an interview with the Inquirer, Smart’s head of public affairs Ramon Isberto is quoted as saying: ‘Smart supports the government’s thrust to provide more affordable, better quality telecommunications service. But we respectfully submit that the proposed circulars imposing a cap on interconnection charges are not the means to achieve this goal.’ He went on to point out that under current telecoms law, access and interconnection charges are part of bilateral agreements negotiated by telecommunication companies, and any effort to change this would constitute a violation of the rights of operators.
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