Joint memo circular sets one-year expiration for prepaid loads


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MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The government has issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) that imposes a one-year validity for pre-loads from the date of top-up or purchase.

The joint circular was issued on Wednesday, Dec. 20, and is expected to take effect on Jan. 7, or 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

The signing ceremony in Makati City was attended by Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr., Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon Lopez, and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) chair Gamaliel Cordoba.

Rio said the one-year validity for the pre-paid loads was made in consultation with the local telcos. Thus, the government is expecting the operators to readily follow the order, Rio said.

“It’s a happy compromise that we made with them so don’t foresee any legal challenge to this new memorandum,” said Rio, also a former chair of the NTC.

Lopez said during the signing ceremony that the one-year validity is “almost like no expiration” because of the lengthy period that subscribers are given to consume the load.

“We took into consideration the argument of the telcos that there is still cost involved in maintaining the load if there is no expiration. That’s why we agreed on a compromise of one year,” Lopez said.

According to the DTI chief, the carrying cost per subscriber was P3.00 per day in 2009 when the number of subscribers was 75.57 million.

“Taking into consideration that more than 90% of the costs of the networks are fixed, the carrying cost per subscriber has decreased as the number of subscribers has increased since then,” Lopez said.

The only exclusion to the coverage of the circular will be those prepaid loads purchased for promotions and other services with a specific period of use, as approved by the DTI and the NTC.

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