Globe asks NTC to compel PLDT to interconnect nationwide

Globe Telecom has asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to compel Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) to fully interconnect their landlines nationwide to bring about lower charges between subscribers of the two carriers.

In a letter to NTC, Globe national carrier relations division head Melvin Santos said the company is “again constrained to seek the urgent intervention of this Honorable Commission in ensuring that all local interconnection between Innove and PLDT will be completed without further delays and within the agreed timetable.”

Innove Communications is the landline unit of Globe.

“While we are ready to initiate administrative proceedings against PLDT, we are taking the present step in the spirit of an amicable resolution of our differences and consistent with the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies,” Santos said.

He said Globe initiated discussions with PLDT for local interconnection in 2006 when the NTC approved Innove’s nationwide rollout. In 2007, Globe formally asked PLDT for interconnection in 32 provinces.

PLDT however has activated only nine candidate areas for interconnection in 2010 and 2011 after the NTC intervened. These are in Davao City, La Union, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Zamboanga City.

The NTC in the fourth quarter of 2011 brought together Innove and PLDT to widen interconnection, resulting in six more areas agreed upon by last year.

“Unfortunately, despite close monitoring by the NTC’s Deputy Commissioner Delilah Deles, PLDT only activated two out of the six additional areas it committed for 2012,” said Santos.

At present, 11 out of the 32 candidate areas for local interconnection have been accommodated by PLDT for activation.

“Despite our continuous and persistent efforts of following up with PLDT via letters, emails, telephone and numerous bilateral discussions, there has been no significant movement/progress on PLDT’s side currently,” Santos said.

Sought for comment, PLDT spokesperson Ramon Isberto said the company is cooperating with Globe on the matter.

“For example, we are in the final stage of implementation for interconnection in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur and are now trying to schedule the formal activation of this link. We have also started discussions on Pangasinan and Zambales and are scheduled to begin discussions on new areas,” Isberto said.

“Having said that, I must also point out that interconnection with Globe is not the only thing we are doing.  The same manpower and technical resources used for interconnection are also being used to attend to the needs of our landline subscribers which we must obviously address,” he said.

“Our internal requirements have grown considerably in the past year as a result of PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel.  We are currently migrating Digitel’s landline subscribers in its franchise areas in northern, central and southern Luzon to PLDT because Digitel’s landline network is at its end-of-life stage and will not be able to properly service its customers moving forward,” Isberto said, adding that the NTC was aware of this predicament.

PLDT acquired Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc two years ago.

“This program is a matter of great urgency for us because we need to ensure that Digitel subscribers will not suffer outages as a result of equipment failures. PLDT must clearly give this program the highest priority in terms of its manpower and resources,” Isberto said.

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