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PLDT Still Reviewing Alternatives for Metering

By Lynda B. Valencia

 

The dominant Philippine Long DistanceTelephone Company (PLDT) may consider new billing schemes in place of its proposed metered service.

PLDT president and chief executive officer Manuel Pangilinan said the new metering scheme may be patterned after the firm's cellular phone service which offers choices to subscribers.

He also said that PLDT may also opt for selective metering which is similar to the "plan zero" billing scheme implemented by cellular telephone firms.

"It is on option that we are looking at so our subscribers would have a choices," Pangilinan said.

The metering scheme is one of the strategic initiatives of the company to increase revenues. Pangilinan said, however "should the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) totally disallow the implementation of the metered service, there is nothing they can do but to find other ways of charging."

"We opt to make a plan similar to that of a cellular (billing) or a flexible tariff plan for PLDT," Pangilinan stressed.

PLDT explained that they want to pursue metering due to the 17 percent decline in accounting rates, which is now placed at $0.80 per minute form $1.03 last year.

Accounting rates refer to the cost of handling international long-distance calls. which are divided evenly between local and foreign carriers.

Pangilinan said that the accounting rates are seen to drop further within the next few months.

The NTC has suspended action on PLDT's proposed metering scheme pending the conclusion of a congressional probe.

Originally, PLDT wanted the metering scheme to be implemented by May in the provinces and June in Metro Manila.

Residential users are entitled to 800 free minutes every month and commercial establishments, 1,000 minutes. An additional charge of P0.40 is collected for every minute thereafter.

 


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