Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nene: Stop cellphone gimmicks

By: Bernadette E. Tamayo - Journal
SENATE Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. wants to prohibit telecommunications companies from sending unsolicited materials like advertisements and contests to cellphone subscribers via text or short message service (SMS).

He filed Senate Bill 1138 regulating the sending of materials by network companies via text which are not solicited by the subscriber.

He pointed out that cellphone services, including text or SMS, are paid for by all subscribers. Unlike free services, therefore, there is no justification for such unsolicited materials.

“As competition among cellphone companies gets fierce, they have started to look into their existing customers as a renewable market through gimmicks, subscriptions and contests by increasing their availment of cellphone services,” Pimentel said.

He said telecom companies have resorted to these gimmicks as post-paid plans get more attractive and pre-paid cards get smaller in denomination with the market for cellular phones nearing saturation, especially in Metro Manila.

Under SBl 1138, network companies are prohibited from sending unsolicited materials such as advertisements, offerings, promotions, subscriptions and other notifications to their subscribers via text. The only exception is legitimate notifications of past due accounts.

Companies found to have violated this prohibition will be punished with a fine of P20,000 to P100,000 per violation.

Any director, officer or employee found to have authorized or otherwise permitted the prohibited act shall likewise be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense and P3,000 for the third offense. For the fourth and subsequent offense, the violator shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than one month.

Pimentel echoed the common complaint of cellphone users that telecommunication network firms indiscriminately send unsolicited materials to subscribers, jacking up phone bills.

“More often than not, unknowing customers have been victimized by such offerings sent by cellphone companies via text or short message service, only to realize later that such contests and subscriptions have jacked up their monthly bills or consumed all of their pre-paid credit,” he said

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home