Workers lament PH telco disservice to the public

A 20 million-peso shortchange in prepaid misloading – whether deliberate or technical glitch beyond systems control at any given time – is huge corporate income! It can already paralyze any hardworking man’s already eaten- and beaten-up budget for his or her family at any day of existence.

BY MARC GUERRERO

FORTY million workers are up in arms against the gross impropriety in the delivery of services to subscribers by major telecommunications companies that, critics observed, is tantamount to fraud and deception.

The scenario is not happening in The Philippines; not yet. 

The figures are also an understatement.

Four hundred years under the Spaniards, forty years under the Americans, and four years under the Japanese: Filipinos are too patient and persevering to readily people power against what seemed to be a grave abuse of trust and confidence on millions of subscribers that Globe, Smart, and Sun (not necessarily in this order of importance) do not hoodwink them of their cellular phone SMS (text) or call and internet loads.

Real estate agent Jean de Leon who loads her mobile phone and internet laptop with one hundred pesos each day do not mind being deducted one peso by her service provider from time to time, she confided in CPM News Asia. Unbeknownst to her, telcos are also raking in millions of pesos from such cluelessness of hardworking subscribers regarding their loading systems that telcos try to hide behind the guise of clichés like Technical problems, that’s why, or We’re trying to upgrade our system, and hence, the automatic unloading, misloading or underloading may occur relentlessly.  

Philippine telco giants Smart, Globe and Sun take pride in the fact that they share 20 million subscribers each from the very bullish telco market of average 60 million Filipinos who own a cellular phone – be it an analogue-ish Nokia if not Motorola of the olden days, or the android-OS’ed Samsung, Oppo, Huawei, Apple, Sony or what-have-we.

This year (2016), Facebook registry noted, there are some 40 million Filipino account holders in the homeland and in major foreign destinations where Filipino communities thrive. Whether the FB accounts are fake, cloned or trolled, is another story. Fifty percent of the Pinoy market figures, however, were deemed by IT experts as “real people or genuine and not machines.“  The quick analysis is equated with the record FB bandied about that the Mark Zuckerberg high-premium tech company maintains some one billion subscribers all over the world. FB also admitted, half of the data is true, accounting for 500 million active users only.

In the May 2016 elections, political analysts who are savvy with social media manipulations tallied that an average 20 million Pinoys used FB, Twitter and other platforms to vote or unvote Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the oldest President of The Philippines. He got 16 million from among the 50 million electorates who decided for the rest of the 100 million population.

One peso is nothing but something for Ms. De Leon, she quipped, and it is a big deal for the workingmen who can hardly make all basic and baser ends meet.

Philippine telcos combined are, hypothetically, appeared to be defrauding the subscribers comprised by students, their families, neighbors and friends who all toil in both the public or private sector jobs, of their loads, that went somewhere, and haywire, equivalent to a minimum PhP20 million at any given time or day!

CPM News Asia is paging, as of this writing, the PH National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Department of Information, Communication and Technology (DITC), as well as the Sun, Globe and Smart companies regarding their comments on these issues.

The following communiqué is addressed to and is being dispatched via all available means of communication to Atty Gamaliel A Cordoba  of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Secretary Rodolfo Salalima of the Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT), Ernest Cu of Globe,  Napoleon Nazareno of Smart, and the Gokongweis of Suncel and other telcos in The Philippines.

14 Oct 2016

Sir/ Madam:

Greetings!

We are a startup news media portal in The Philippines and the US that discusses proactive unionism, living wages, contractualization, public sector and human rights issues on our web portal using the social media platform.

We write to formally request for your official statements on the issue xxxx [URL link to his story]

Based on a few reports from the field, may we be enlightened as to why and how come that, in the view of small prepaid subscribers who are in the millions, major telecommunications companies in the country appeared to be shortchanging them of their loads from time to time.

Kindly comment on the matter and may we hear your side of the story with your recommendations and propositions to the public as to what needs to be done to accord them some relief from the anguish of misloading and other related telco disservices.      

Thank you for your prompt action.

Respectfully,

CPM News Asia

A FEW CASES in point.

The Philippines has one of the slowest Internet speeds in the world, according to CNN Philippines. In Asia, the country is second to last, just better than the insurgency-ridden Afghanistan. Ironically, the service is also one of the world’s most expensive — more than thrice the global average, it concluded.

The country is still on the way to having a one-gigabyte regular speed, while its South Asian neighbors, like Singapore or South Korea, are within the 100 to 1000 Gigabytes speed already, that a subscriber can already download a full movie when passing from the entry and exit of a tunnel.

It takes me forever to open my Google or Facebook using a Globe Tattoo USB in Manila!

In terms of competition and competitiveness within and without the local telco industry, the Philippine mobile market, Wikipedia says, has expanded to a total industry SIM base of 114 million. But despite an industry penetration rate of over 110 percent as of December 31st, 2014, the market is continuously expanding due to the rise in the demand for more non-traditional services especially in the form of mobile internet browsing. With the growing penchant of Filipinos for smartphones, the mobile browsing business in The Philippines presents more opportunities for revenue growth. Aside from the possible area of growth in the industry through the switch of prepaid subscribers to postpaid, mobile data usage of both prepaid and postpaid subscribers continues to be a promising market that is to be developed and penetrated in the coming years.

As of 2014, it added, approximately 96 percent of industry subscribers remain prepaid, albeit significant growth in the postpaid segment over the last three years.

The Philippine government liberalized the communications industry in 1993 after a framework was developed to promote competition in the industry and accelerate the development of the telecommunications market.

Ten operators were granted licenses to provide CMTS services – Globe, Innove (previously Isla Communications Inc or Islacom), Bayan Telecommunications Inc (BayanTel), Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises (CURE), Digitel Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel), Express Telecom (Extelcom), MultiMedia Telephony Inc, Next Mobile (NEXTEL), Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel) and Smart Communications Inc (Smart).

Nine of the 10 operators continued on to operate commercially except for BayanTel, which have yet to roll out their CMTS services commercially.

When Sun Cellular, Digitel’s mobile brand, entered the market in 2003, it introduced to the market value-based unlimited call and text propositions, allowing it to build subscriber scale over time. With the market’s preference for these value-based unlimited and bulk call and text services, Globe and Smart responded by creating a new set of value propositions for their subscribers.

Today, with the high level of mobile penetration, driven in part by the prevalence of multi-SIMming (i.e., individuals having two to three SIMs or more), and the continued shift of consumer preferences to unlimited and bulk offers, the competition in the mobile market remains intense, albeit in a more rational environment.

Today, only the PLDT Group and the Globe Group have built significant bases of mobile subscribers.

WITH so many players in PH local telco industry and a few more foreign brands being asked by the Duterte administration to come in, probably from China or Russia, workers should be jumping for joy that more real jobs will be created and more taxes will be due to the government from the newbies in PH telco. Not necessarily (and that’s another story).

Service delivery, even by the three top players, was found by the workers to be wanting.

Dan Cruz, a rank-and-file employee from a Makati real estate company, was loading his smartphones anywhere he goes, whether in big or small loaders in Quezon City, or Manila or elsewhere in the metropolis. He got three cellphones at hand, exclusively for each of his three SIMs; all prepaids. But most of the time, he decried what he aptly described as what appears to be whims and fancies by telco systems to delay transmittal of SMS or short text messages; delay in loading; being loaded as appeared in transaction receipts but actually not being loaded at all (because he is not credited with loads he paid for); being loaded but deducted at a wink of an eye without using any telco services; so much marketing messages; a lot of promos that do not get through at all; the complaints are ad infinitum!

The problem with Mr. Cruz, the same as with hundreds of thousands upon thousands of other prepaid subscribers like him, is that he thinks that a peso or a fifty-peso or even a hundred-peso misloading is small time; no big deal.

Small prepaid subscribers do not normally report what they think as small issues to the NTC or to the telco companies because they do not think it is worth their while: “Maliit na bagay, pera lang yan, abala, bukas-makalawa puwede mo ulit kitain iyan!” [No big deal, it’s just money, waste of time, tomorrow you can earn your lost money again.]    

It’s one negativity of Filipino culture, an observer scholar from Lyceum of the Philippines defined the costumbre of the Pinoy.

In the meantime, the blue-chip telcos still “earn” one-peso each or more from the misloading of and other public disservice to over 60 million hardworking prepaid subscribers.

We shall be listing down more specific complaints by ordinary workers against the disservice of the telcos Globe, Smart, and Suncel in the weeks or months and years to come.

This is how Globe appeases the public regarding service or disservice, whether deliberate or beyond control or acts of God, by and through surveys:

ON JUNE THE 22ND, 2016, Globe asked their subscribers: “We’d like to ask a few questions to get feedback on your experience.

Question 1 (Q1)

Please rate your satisfaction with your recent Globe Rewards 12603, from 10, excellent; to 0, very poor.

MY ANSWER (MA): I gave a 5.

Q2

Based on your experience, will you continue to use Globe? YES or NO.

MA: Yes.

Q3

How is your call and text experience with Globe? 10, excellent; 0, very poor.

MA: 6.

Q4

How likely are you to recommend Globe to your friends, family or co-workers? 10, extremely likely; or 0, not likely.

MA: 6.

Finally, please share with us why these are the ratings you gave.

MA: Your telco services are not that bad, but you can do better. You can lead all the telco packs to do best practices that any new player will find ahead of our times.

The delivery of good service in technology should be faster than the speed of thought.

Thank you for your feedback.

GOOD for the public if surveys are not manipulated and at best heard and acted upon for good to better to best service delivery.

Email MarqGuerreiro1@gmail.com

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Workers lament PH telco disservice to the public

CPM News Asia is paging, as of this writing, the PH National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Department of Information, Communication and Technology (DITC), as well as the Sun, Globe and Smart companies regarding their comments on these issues.

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