The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has denied a request by wireless operator Smart Communications to drop the case brought against it by a group of cable TV providers seeking clarification regarding mobile TV. Several months ago the Philippine Cable Television Association (PCTA) asked the NTC to force Smart to discontinue its mobile TV service. Although Smart discontinued the service in April, the watchdog says that the issue of whether a telecoms company should be allowed to offer digital TV services is likely to be resurrected at some point in the future, and needs to be settled once and for all.
In separate but related news, the NTC says it plans to raise spectrum users fees (SUF) imposed on cellcos in order to raise more revenue as the government seeks to narrow its record budget deficit. Currently the NTC collects PHP5 million (USD110,000) per 10MHz held by 2G frequency holders. ‘We will increase it very substantially,’ said Edgardo Cabarios, NTC director for Common Carrier and Authorisation Department. For 3G spectrum holders the regulator collects PHP65 million year per 10MHz owned.