Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, February 19, 2005

NTC Director meets the Board

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gov't moves to stop cellphone-based fraud

The Philippine telecommunication regulator wants to call a high-level meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) amid complaints that cellular phones are being used by phishing syndicates.

Online phishing groups typically send mass e-mails, making messages appear to have come from legitimate banks, insurance companies, and payment firms. Unsuspecting users who click links in the e-mail are then directed to bogus websites where they are asked to divulge data about their accounts, which are then used by syndicates to commit fraud.

The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) however warned that phishing took another form in the Philippines -- text scams. This form of phishing is done with the use of ubiquitous mobile phones and is used to lure mobile users into profiteering schemes like fraudulent networking and pyramiding.

NTC deputy commissioner Jorge V. Sarmiento said in an interview that the commission will host a meeting with DTI and AMLC this month to draft a memorandum circular against text scams.

As a preliminary, Mr. Sarmiento said NTC is considering requiring all telcos to use a pre-assigned number for all mobile-based commercial promotions. Messages sent outside this number will hint that they were conceived in ill-faith.

NTC has formed a technical working group to draft the circular before the second quarter.

"Text scam is unique to the Philippines but the syndicates involved in it can be both local and foreign," Mr. Sarmiento said. "DTI handles consumer complaints and AMLC oversees scams but because mobile phones are being used as conduits; we are being required by consumers to do something."

Targeting mostly financial services companies, online phishing incidents have been on the rise globally. There are no reports yet on mobile phishing incidents however.

In January, the United States-based Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) said that unique online phishing campaigns grew from July last year by 38 percent to 9,019 cases in December.

Websites supporting the scams grew every month at a brisk rate of 24 percent from August until December, when there were 1,707 online phishing-related sites reported with the APWG.

The group likewise learned that the number of individual companies targeted by phishing scams has reached 55 in December, up from only 44 in October 2004.

AMLC, for its part, had likewise touted mobile phones as channels for money laundering that had about 65 reported cases in the Philippines as of January 2005.

AMLC executive director Vicente S. Aquino said in an earlier interview that the council received 80 assistance requests from foreign governments that suspect money has been laundered in and out of the Philippines through electronic and mobile means as of end-2004.

Money laundering is the crime of using dirty money to fund legitimate activities or to invest in legal entities.

AMLC is considering requiring remittance agents of to keep records of all money-related transactions done over the mobile phones

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

SP Adopted TELECOM Board Reso #2


Whereas, Olongapo City Telecom and IT Board under its duties and functions as defined in Ordinance 24, Series of 2004 is mandated to formulate rules, regulations and guidelines for compliance by Telecommunications and IT providers operating in the City of Olongapo;

Whereas, after thorough research and studies, the Olongapo City Telecom and IT Board passed a resolution for the establishment of guidelines, rules and regulations to be used for cellsite/telecom tower applications;

Whereas, with the surge in telecommunication technology, it is deem necessary that the City adopts the said resolution of the Olongapo City Telecom and IT Board to ensure that all necessary requirements are met;

NOW THEREFORE, on motion of councilor Edwin J. Piano, with the unanimous accord of the members of Sangguniang Panlungsod present;

RESOLVED, AS IT HEREBY RESOLVED, by the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in session assembled, to adopt, as it hereby adopts Olongapo City Telecom and IT Board Resolution No. 02, Series of 2005 entitled “ A Resolution Establishing Guidelines, Rules and Regulation For Cell Site Application in the City of Olongapo” for its implementation in the City

Let copy of Olongapo City Telecom and IT Board Resolution No. 02, Series of 2005 be made as integral part of this Resolution

APPROVED February 9, 2005




WHEREAS, with the rapid advancement of communication technology, cellular sites or microwave/telecom antenna towers are mushrooming in the city:

WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 24, series of 2004, mandated Olongapo Telecom Board to formulate guidelines, rules and regulation for compliance of Telecommunications and IT providers in the city of Olongapo;

WHEREAS, it is the duty of the Telecom Board to ensure that all cellular sites or microwave/telecom antenna towers meet all the necessary requirements and clearances to ensure the safety and protection to life and property;

NOW THEREFORE, with the unanimous accord of the board members present;

RESOLVED, AS, IT HEREBY RESOLVED, by the members of the Telecom Board in a meeting assembled, to enact the following guidelines, rules and regulation for cell site application in the City of Olongapo:

1. Documents, Clearances and Permits required

• Letter of intent to build a tower within the vicinity of the Olongapo City addressed to the City Mayor (Copy to the City Council and Telecom Board)
• Vicinity map / location map of the proposed site.
• Engineering plan / design of the proposed project (including total cost) to be approved by City Engineering
• Air Transportation Office or Subic Bay Int’l Airport clearance
• Approved Radio Frequency from NTC/SBMA Telecom
• CENRO/DENR certificate
• Department of Health clearance
• Locational clearance from Office of the City Planning
• ECC certificate (as needed)
• Barangay Resolution
• Neighbors consent (at least within the 50 meters radius from the cell site)
• Mayor’s / Business Permit
• Building Permit / Construction Permit
• Agreement between lot/property owner and telecom provider
• Affidavit of undertaking/waiver for government lot/property
• Non-refundable application fee (50% of annual supervision fee)
• City Council Resolution

2. All applications must be submitted to the Telecommunications and Information Technology Board for proper recording and examination of the requirements to ensure that it complies with the minimum requirements

3. An annual supervision fee will be collected for regular inspection and supervision of the Telecom Board in order to monitor whether the facility is with-in the submitted and approved plans and that rules are adhered to.

4. The Telecom and Information Board shall strongly recommend stoppage of construction and / or operation of the cellsite / telecom tower if cellular company failed to comply with minimum requirements. The City Government will act on the Telecom Boards recommendation and will not be liable on any service interruption resulting from non-compliance of the telecom company involved.

5. All photocopies of the documents required shall be submitted to Telecommunications and Information Technology Board, the board will make required coordination with other local government agencies.

6. All Telecommunications operators/company operating in Olongapo City are bounded by this guidelines, rules and regulations

7. This guidelines, rules and regulation shall take effect upon concurrence of the City Council.


Chairman, Telecom Board

Board Secretary

NTC stops chikka.com mobile services

The Philippine telecommunication regulator has pulled the rug off the feet of popular mobile messaging services company Chikka Asia. Inc., ordering local mobile carriers to cut off from their networks all of chikka's mobile solutions.

In a memorandum signed by Commissioner Ronald O. Solis on February 9, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) said that chikka.com has been illegally operating as a value-added service (VAS) provider, having not registered with the authority since starting operations around 2002.

Mr. Solis noted that the order was handed down after complaints of faulty charging by chikka.com piled way up to the House of Representatives.

Present in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, United States and the Philippines, chikka.com is an international provider of enhanced mobile messaging services to carriers like Globe Telecom Inc. Innove Communications, Inc, Smart Communications, Inc., Pilipino Telephone Corporation, and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc.

Chikka.com is popular among mobile phone subscribers who have access to personal computers. With a chikka.com software downloaded on a PC, a mobile phone subscriber can send short message services (SMS) messages for free instead of paying P1.00 per message using a mobile phone.

From the complaints NTC has been receiving, chikka.com users do not pay when they send messages from their PCs. Recipients, however, are allegedly automatically charged P2.50 per message received in their mobile phone from chikka.com.

In this sense, Mr. Solis said chikka.com all together violates the sender pays principle.' If out of consent subscribers receive messages, they should not be charged. With what we have been hearing, that is how chikka.com operates.

The House Committees on Information and Communication Technology, and on Trade and Industry have been flooded with disenchanted consumers claiming their mobile credit was deducted P2.50 per unsolicited message received from chikka.com.

The barrage of complaints led NTC to visit possible public documents filed by the company, only to find out that chikka.com has not disclosed with the commission its profile, revenue streams and related services.

NTC maintains a list of over 300 VAS providers in the Philippines, which includes internet service providers, mobile and internet content providers, and non-traditional messaging services firms.

The list is kept to ensure that such VAS providers will be accountable to both the government and the public for any anomalous profiteering scheme and other services found below par.

chikka.com affiliates include wireless auction site Bidshot Wireless Services, internet relay chat room for dating Crushcow, and mobile payment solutions Paysetter.

NTC director Edgardo V. Cabarios told BusinessWorld that chikka.com has been rendering premium services that require permission from the commission to offer.

Premium services, Mr. Cabarios defined, are messages priced above P1.00 that is traditionally charged for plain text messages. Such services include ring tones, picture messages, mobile alerts like weather news, traffic updates, and some other subscription-based mobile contents.

To get back to regular business, Mr. Cbarios said chikka.com has to explain to the commission its charging scheme, submit Securities and Exchange Commission documents, and pay P6,000 in annual fees to register as a VAS provider.

The hands of NTC are tied to the Republic Act 7925 [Philippine Public Telecommunications Act of 1995]. As much as there is ground to penalize chikka.com, we cannot do so because there are no penal provisions under the law. We can only order the telcos to stop charging subscribers who receive messages from chikka, Mr. Cabarios said over the telephone. Registration with the NTC is very cheap, we do not know why chikka cannot register.

Officials of chikka.com refused to comment on the NTC decision.

The company's manager Mikey Garovillo said chikka.com will defer comment while waiting for the NTC memorandum, which was actually addressed only to the carriers. He also begged off from requests for comments on the issue of registration.

The office of Dennis B. Mendiola, managing director at chikka.com, also said that Mr. Mendiola is out of the country and cannot comment on the NTC order.

Again, we will not issue any comment for now. What do you see in our website? Then that is how we are charging, Mr. Garovillo said when asked if chikka.com charges P2.50 when it sends unsolicited messages to subscribers.

The country's biggest mobile carrier has assured the NTC of their full cooperation with the NTC.

Smart legal counsel Roy Ibay however told the NTC last week that they would look into complaints about chikka.com transactions done over its network.

He said that according to existing arrangement, chikka.com could only debit P2.50 only if the subscriber has consented to paying premium services.

Board updated by MIS Head

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Sunny Moses Basobas, Officer in Charge of Management Information System made a presentation regarding the city's computerization programs.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

NTC to put a stop text spam soon

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has initiated public discussions on a pending rules to regulate “text” spam, or unsolicited and unwanted commercial text messages received by mobile phone subscribers.

With only a handful of stakeholders attending its public hearing on the proposed rules and regulations on broadcast messaging service, NTC said mounting complaints from the public including its employees have prompted the agency to seriously look into this modern-day nuisance.

Based on the draft rules and regulations of NTC, subscribers who have consented or have “opted-in” to commercial and promotional advertisements, surveys and broadcast text messages would receive broadcast text messages.

The rules also direct mobile phone networks and content providers to provide mechanisms that would allow subscribers who have subscribed to a certain broadcast message, to unsubscribe at a later date.

The rules also indicate broadcast or push messaging should not be done between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. NTC did not indicate the reason for this ban.

It also stressed that subscribers or recipients who receive unwanted broadcast messages should be considered to have opted-out and would not receive further text messages.
The rules also require mobile phone networks and content providers to always indicate the source of a broadcast message.

Legal representatives from Globe Telecom and Smart, and an official from the National Computer Center have aired their comments on the planned regulation of broadcast messaging services in the country during the hearing.

Lawyer Roy Ibay of the legal department of Smart Communications argued that broadcast text messages are meant to target people who don’t have access to a television, radio or a newspaper.

“The rule should at least allow subscribers to receive one broadcast message before they can opt-out,” the Smart lawyer said.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento however stressed that most commercial broadcast messages target mobile phone users.

“So why should I pay for a message I don’t want to receive?” he said, posing a question to representatives of mobile phone networks. “This memorandum circular [on commercial broadcast messaging] did not happen on a whim. We have received numerous complaints from people.”

Sarmiento then asked mobile operators if they charge subscribers for receiving a broadcast message. Both Smart and Globe lawyers replied in the negative.
Manuel Casiño, legal counsel of Globe Telecom, added that “decrimentation of credit” does not occur when subscribers receive broadcast text messages.

Meanwhile, a representative from the National Computer Center suggested that NTC should also include a more detailed provision that would indicate the necessary penalties or sanctions to parties violating the agency’s rules.

The draft rules also indicate that complainants are initially obliged to file their case with the concerned mobile phone network before they elevate it to the NTC.

Subic Telecom ups capacity due to strong Net demand

By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes
The Philippine Star 02/13/2005

Subic Telecommunications Co. Inc. (SubicTel) has increased its capacity to accommodate more DSL (digital subscriber line) subscribers in the Subic Bay Freeport area in response to the growing demand for high-speed Internet access.

From a capacity of only 514 lines, the company increased its capacity by 240, bringing the total to 754. This came as SubicTel, a fully-owned subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), quickly built up its DSL subscriber base to some 480 subscribers as of end-2004.

SubicTel head Jose Ma. Abola said the subscriber pick-up for DSL subscribers has been faster than expected and that the company needed to upgrade its network to accommodate demand.

"Right now we have some 100 pending applications for the DSL service. We believe this is a reflection of the development occurring in Subic in terms of the impact of the Internet on people’s lives and their businesses," he said.

"SubicTel is intent on meeting the communications needs of the Subic Freeport residents with our cutting-edge network and cost-effective products and services," he added.

Earlier, the company announced an increase in the bandwidth of its DSL packages and the enhancement of its add-on services without imposing any increase in monthly fees. This was done in order to attract more retail and corporate clients and to allow existing clients to experience faster Internet access at a more affordable price.

Abola said SubicTel has all the cutting edge services needed by locators in the Freeport zone as well as retail clients for the past 10 years since its inception. These include residential lines, private leased lines, Virtual Private Network (VPN), Voice over VPN, and Voice over Internet Protocol (IP).

The company has so far invested over P1 billion since 1994 to upgrade its network and provide world-class communications services. It will continue to invest in its network in the years to come in order to keep up with the latest advancements in technology.

"This network upgrade and enhancement of DSL packages are only some of the changes planned for this year. Clients can expect more exciting things to come," said Abola.

SubicTel is a Subic Bay Freeport Zone telecommunications provider that serves the needs of locators, businesses, and residents of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Offering a wide-range of cutting-edge telecommunications services