Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, October 14, 2006

PLDT complains of illegal bypass in Globe subsidiary’s operations

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Manila Times Reporter

A NEW feud is brewing between the country’s top telcos, after Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) temporarily barred incoming calls to its landlines emanating from a leading rival’s personal computer (PC)-to-phone service.

The country’s largest telecom company has filed a complaint with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against Innove, a wholly owned subsidiary of rival Globe Telecom Inc., for routing international calls to PLDT’s network through GlobeQUEST Web­Phone service without an interconnection agreement.

Interconnection refers to the linkage, by wire, radio, satellite, or other means, of two or more existing carriers with one another to enable subscribers of one operator to reach the subscribers of the other carriers.

PLDT said that the routing of calls to its local subscribers from GlobeQUEST WebPhone without an interconnection arrangement is tantamount to a bypass.

Bypass is a situation wherein an entity other than the local exchange carrier (LEC) provides long-distance service by establishing direct access to an end-user within the LEC’s authorized local exchange service area.

Section 8, Article IV of Republic Act 7925 mandates that a LEC should “be protected from uncompensated bypass or overlapping operations of other telecommunications entities except when it is unable to provide, within a reasonable period of time and at desired standard, the interconnection arrangements required by such entities.”

“Routine monitoring done by PLDT has disclosed that incoming calls from GlobeQUEST WebPhone service from the US and the United Kingdom, and from the regional area to a local PLDT phone were routed at the local interconnect of PLDT and Innove without the benefit of an interconnect arrangement and are charged and/or rated as local calls to Metro Manila,” PLDT said in its letter to the NTC.

PLDT said the practice violated the terms and conditions of its local interconnection agreement with Innove, wherein both parties have agreed not to engage in an operation or service that constitutes uncompensated bypass of their respective systems.

Froilan Castelo, Globe senior vice-president for regulatory affairs, said his company already stopped the service from other networks three months ago when the illegal bypass was detected

Castelo said no significant damage was done on PLDT, because the service only had a few subscribers.

In its letter to PLDT, Innove said there was “no intention on its part to avoid the payment of appropriate access charges to PLDT.”

“However, there are some unscrupulous users who bring Globe1 cards abroad and use the WebPhone service to call PLDT subscribers,” the letter said.

Globe1 is the company’s PIN-based prepaid call card.