Prepaid cell phone loads will now last one year—DTI
Prepaid loads are now required to last up to a year, a “happy compromise” with the country’s telecommunication companies after the latter refused to remove their expiration date permanently, top officials said.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) signed a joint memorandum circular (JMC) on Wednesday night to require telcos to comply, expecting it to take effect in early January.
According to a DTI statement, the circular would amend NTC’s Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009 or the Guidelines on Prepaid Loads.
Under the circular passed nearly a decade ago, the expiration of a prepaid load would depend on its purchase price.
This could last from three days (for P10 load or less) up to three months (for load that is more than P300).
This would now change, extending the validity period of any prepaid load regardless of amount up to a year, which is more than enough time to maximize the load, officials said.
In a press briefing that followed the JMC signing, DICT officer in charge Eliseo Rio Jr. said the telcos currently keep the validity period in such short time frames because it takes up space in their data centers, which “of course, costs money.”
“Here we came up with a happy compromise in balancing the interest of the consumers and the telcos. This is DTI’s initiative and we supported this,” he said.
The JMC, however, does not cover prepaid loads purchased “for promotions and other services with a specific period of use, as approved by DTI and NTC,” according to DTI.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said this was done in consultation with telco companies, noting how the proposal was different from what was initially raised.
“Originally, the government wanted to have no expiration. But of course, we are looking for what is feasible,” said Lopez.
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