Fresh from the announcement of NTC that regular SMS rates should have been Php0.80 instead of Php1.00 since 2011, it has estimated that telcos owe prepaid/postpaid subscribers as much as Php7B worth of refunds.
So the next question is, how will subscribers get back that Php7 billion that they overpaid?
According to NTC, there are several ways:
Refunds could be in a form prepaid credits or through billing for postpaid subscribers according to Edgardo Cabarios, director for Common Carriers Authorization at NTC. Keep in mind that the charges only covers the inter-network and regular text messages not covered by promos like unlimited or combo-package offers.
Here are some likely methods we think they could do:
* Telcos can auto-credit each subscriber SIM with additional SMS load based on their average consumption in the last 3 months. The 25% (Php0.20/Php0.80) top-up will continue to be added every month for the next 4 years. Example — if you average 1000 SMS per month in the last 3 months, you get a free SMS top-up of 250 text messages next month.
* Reduce rates of all regular SMS from the supposed Php0.80 to Php0.60 until 2018. After that, they can return to the prescribed Php0.80 rate.
* Free regular SMS for the next 12 months. Though this is highly unlikely, telcos can waive all fees related to sending regular SMS in the next 12 months (representing 25% of the last 4 years).
Or, if it’s going to be really hard to compute the equitable sharing of refunds, why not just donate the entire amount of Php7 billion to charity or an academic institution or organization?