Monday, December 20, 2010

Solon calls unfair telcos hanging up on holiday ‘unli’ call/text

A neophyte lawmaker on Monday hit the plans of telecommunications firms to suspend their promos on unlimited calls and SMS during the holidays.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said in a statement that he has urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reject the “shrewd, manipulative, and greedy" petition of telecommunications companies to allow them to suspend or freeze unlimited call-and-text services.

The lawmaker said that Globe Telecom Inc. was suspending its promo on unlimited calls and texts from Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1.

But according to Charo Logarta-Lagamon, Globe's external affairs head, their unlimited call-and-text promo was not suspended.

"The promo already ended. That’s why it’s called promo because it’s not there forever," she said.

Lagamon also said that the end of its promo is only in time for the holiday rush. "Had we renewed the promotional service, then we should be expecting a heavy traffic of calls during, say, Christmas eve or New Year’s eve."

Smart Communications Inc., on the other hand, may follow suit in filing a suspension request with the NTC.

GMANews.TV tried contacting Smart Communications public affairs head Ramon Isberto, but he was not answering his phone as of posting time.

Evardone pointed out that it is convenient for telecommunications firms to use "increased network traffic" as an excuse to take advantage of the increased demand to maximize profits.

"It is nothing but cheating," he said. "Shortchanging the public to cash in the holiday demand. With the latest technology, the telecom companies should have prepared for the yearly spike in calls and text messaging."

The companies entice the public with various promos on unlimited calls and texts to boost their sales, then suddenly these promos will be unavailable at the time subscribers need it the most, Evardone said.

"They constantly advertise and promote unlimited call-and-text offers, and then they now make a backdoor exit, asking NTC to let them suspend those services on Christmas eve and New Year’s eve," he added.

The move is tantamount to false advertising, and telecom companies must be penalized with stiff fines for it, Evardone insisted.

Evardone is set to file a resolution calling on Congress to rebuff and penalize the alleged "unfair and abusive business practices" of telecommunications firms.

He said a thorough House inquiry into these “rackets" is in order. – with Jesse Edep/MRT/KBK, GMANews.TV

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