Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Friday, June 06, 2008

Davao graduates better than Subic?

Davao City has various educational institutions annually yielding a higher number of IT and BPO qualified graduates than Subic

Davao City gets upgraded status as outsourcing site
by Prix D Banzon - PIA

Davao City (6 June) -- Davao City has been upgraded to a level C2 rating from its previous level D standing as the city emerges as a viable site for captive and outsourcing services.

In the leadership study of XMG Global Offshoring it said that the untapped manpower base in Davao City will give its allure and staying power as a viable site in the years to come.

The report continued that potential locators in Davao City must have heightened awareness and should conduct their own formal and internal risks analysis rather than reacting to headlines about specific regions under consideration such as the problems happening in other parts of Mindanao.

XMG researcher Camille Lumbang said compared to other cities in the south, Davao Cty is very promising and it is seen to be next generation city that would benefit large captives provided that risk issues are addressed properly.

The study Lumbang said that Davao City has various educational institutions annually yielding a higher number of IT and BPO qualified graduates than Subic, Clark and Baguio by 689%, 278% and 40% respectively.

The XMG indicated however that there is a need to further improve and modernize telecom facilities, transportation networks and public transport system otherwise business continuity and disaster recovery plans will go unfulfilled.

The study on the other hand revealed that Davao City will be a viable alternative site three years from now. The study likewise predicts that organizations that are formulating the technology and procedural solutions to integrate a large manpower base into their global delivery centers will be at the forefront of the offshoring and outsourcing industry as the labor arbitrage model continues. The other emerging alternative offshoring cities cited in the study were Montevideo, Uruguay, Jakarta, Indonesia and Casablanca, Morocco.

Outsourcing vendors and captives who participated in the study are bullish about Davao City because of the larger population of untapped qualified resources.

Among others, the study highlighted the population of Davao City as considerably higher than other Tier-2 offshoring cities globally. In the Philippine context, Davao City's population is 71 percent higher than Cebu City, 499 percent larger than Olangapo-Subic City 333 percent higher than Angeles-Clark City and 340 percent larger than Baguio City. The city's estimated workforce is twice of Cebu, 9 times of Subic and 7 times of Clark and 6 times of Baguio. (PIA)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

No reason for Senate to reject DICT this time -- IT execs

By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

Although the bill is still at its early stage, two industry executives see no reason for senators to stall further the creation of an ICT (information and communications technology) department in government.

The Senate committee on science and technology discussed at a hearing today a bill filed by Senator Loren Legarda proposing the creation of an ICT department. The hearing was attended by representatives from various private sector groups.

Unlike previous versions of the bill filed at the Senate, Oscar Sanez, Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) chief executive, sees more support from different industry groups this time.

"Before, there was not as much consensus and some may have seen the idea (of a DICT) as one that was too early. But many things have changed," Sanez said via phone interview when asked for comments by INQUIRER.net.

BPAP, which represents the country's business process outsourcing or BPO industry, has sent an endorsement letter to the Senate committee supporting the DICT bill.

Sanez said other countries have gone ahead in creating similar state ICT agencies.

"ICT has become a global measure of a nation's competitiveness and there is higher importance (of ICT) now than ever before," he said.

The creation of DICT, he said, spells good news for an industry like BPO, which relies heavily on ICT-related policies.

"For BPAP, it shows that the government is doing something to ensure infrastructure is there," Sanez said.

Bettina Quimson, Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) head for government relations, is likewise hoping a DICT will finally be created before the year ends.

"Even Vietnam has its own department and look at what they have achieved since," she said in a separate phone interview.

PSIA, which represents the country's software industry, is likewise endorsing the bill and is part of the private-government technical working group tasked to refine the bill further to address specific areas.

"What this shows is that there is no single agency in government right now to address all these IT functions," Quimson said, noting the participation of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the working group.

The working group will have 45 days before convening again.

"All the parties involved are sort of listening to different perspectives at the moment," said Sanez of BPAP. "But it's the senators pushing the DICT bill that will make a difference."

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Telcos: No such thing as free SMS, not even in the US

While willing to discuss text rates, telecommunications companies are balking at a recent announcement that government wants to make text messaging free, saying this implies that telcos were unduly pricing the service when they were not.

"Reports have cited Verizon, a major US mobile carrier, as offering 'free' text messaging. A check with the Verizon website shows that the service being offered is not 'free' text messaging but unlimited text messaging. The unlimited SMS offer is part of their monthly service plans, the lowest priced of which costs US$59.99 or roughly P2,400 a month," Smart Communications Inc. spokesman Ramon Isberto said in a recent statement.

Unlimited text messaging is already available in the Philippines, he added.

"SMS rates in the Philippines are already among the lowest in the world. While the standard rate remains P1 per message, Philippine operators, including Smart, now offer many different text and call packages that have drastically reduced the effective price of SMS from 10 to 20 centavos per message or even lower in the case of unlimited text packages," he said.

Globe Telecom Inc. SVP Atty. Rodolfo Salalima agreed in a separate statement.

"While we do not take it from government to feel their concerns for the mass public, we need to sit down together (to discuss rates).... In Australia the cost per text is P2.4, in Malaysia P1.07, in China P1.55, in Taiwan P4.25, in Europe it ranges from P15 to about P25," he said.

As for lowering text rates, Salalima said the price of one text message was now only about 13 centavos because intense competition has driven telcos to offer promos.

He added that there was a public service aspect to the service, and if telcos were forced to make it free despite the heavy investment required to cope with data traffic and to improve quality of service, then text messaging may not be sustainable.

Digital Telecommunications Phils. Inc., operator of the Sun Cellular mobile brand, likewise said that text messaging was already very cheap in the Philippines.

"The fact that it is being contemplated to make it free or lower prices implies there is an impression that it is expensive. But in fact we are among the lowest especially when we count the promos. Of course, we can discuss this better if we get a formal policy or statement from government," Digitel SVP William Pamintuan told reporters recently.

But the NTC said it has already come up with twin circulars proposing to trim charges not only for text messaging but for voice calls as well. It has also announced that it will hold a public hearing about the proposed rates this week.

NTC wants to slash the access charge (also known as the interconnection charge) for text messaging between different operators (Smart to Globe, Sun to Smart, etc.) to 15 centavos from 35 centavos. This would put the charge at par with the current 15-centavo access charge for two brands using the same network (Smart to Talk n' Text, Globe to TM, Sun to Sun).

NTC believes that cheaper access charges between networks would drive down the price of text messaging from the nominal rate of P1.

As for voice calls, NTC wants access charges for off-network activity (Smart to Globe or Smart to Sun, and vice-versa) to go down to P1.50 from the current P4.

Telcos have declined to comment on the specific rates, saying they have not received a copy of the circulars. By Riza T. Olchondra - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Nograles eyes lower texting service rates

HOUSE Speaker Prospero Nograles yesterday assured the public the House of Representatives is giving priority to lowering the cost of telecommunications in the country at least during these difficult times.

In a statement, Nograles appealed to telecommunication providers to repay the subscribers who have given them billions of pesos in profits by lowering the cost of their services.

The Speaker said the Lower House is dead serious on rationalizing telcos operations in the country in order to bring down the cost of communication services particularly “texting” that is putting additional strain on the day-to-day budget of Filipino households.

Nograles has already instructed the House committee on Information and Technology chaired by Rep. Joseph Santiago to revisit Republic Act 7925, otherwise known as the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995.

The move aims to find out possible amendments to bring down the cost of telco services particularly texting, which has become an essential communication tool among Filipinos including the poor.

Nograles said that RA 7925 may have “spoiled” the telcos with the removal of the 12-percent ceiling on return of investment and the 3-percent franchise tax on gross receipts which he said, could have made the costs of telco services more reasonable.

“The removal of the cap gave telecoms too much discretionary opportunity to maximize profit as they prey on the eager Filipino texters,” he said.

Based on estimates, Nograles said that texting in the Philippines should be only at 25 centavos per text or should even be made free.

Nograles also asked Santiago’s committee to review a measure filed during the 12th Congress which would compel telcos to stop overcharging their customers on the so-called “per-minute” basis on voice calls.

Mobile phone service providers should only charge their subscribers on “per six seconds of usage” and should be compelled to issue billing statements even for pre-paid subscribers, Nograles said.

The practice of telecoms companies of charging their subscribers on a per-minute basis instead of the actual length of calls should be considered as a business malpractice and this should be immediately corrected, the Speaker added. By: Jester P. Manalastas - Journal online

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