The National Telecommunication Commision or NTC has made new amendments to the MC03-03-2005 which regulates contents/information providers to initiate the “opting-in” of subscribers to services through push messages. This push messages had been the focus of a lot of issues and disputes on vanishing prepaid loads.

Normally, content providers (CP) will randomly blast free ringtones or ringback tones for free (usually to promote a popular movie/event, like a concert or to sell ringtone/wallpaper/theme downloads). However, in order to get the free ringtone/wallpaper/theme , one must subscribe to the weekly service. The succeeding tones/wallpaper/theme are then charged to the subscriber.

Many subscribers however have experienced difficulty removing these subscriptions from their cellphones. The txt OFF then send to a telco number do not work.  Some have already called the telco hotlines to ask that the ads or the sending of ringtones to be manually removed but to no avail. Weeks will past and even months before these subscriptions will be removed. And during this long time of waiting cellphone loads will be consumed by this ringtone downloads. Many have just resorted to replacing their mobile numbers with new ones in exasperation.

Many filipinos have already complained about this for many years. But the telcos seem to have a hard time listening.  A senator has to be a victim of this abuse before the authorities will act. Senator  Juan Ponce Enrile discovered that his mobile phone was subscribed to a ringtone service and his prepaid cellphone load just vanished into thin air. And the ringtone he got — Careless Whisper.

This PUSH Messaging practice is now disallowed effective July 23, 2009 after the NTC made the following amendments:

– Push messages shall not be allowed. Subscriptions or requests for contents and/or information shall be initiated by the subscribers.

– Commercial and promotional advertisements, surveys and other broadcast messages shall be allowed only if prior consent from the subscribers is secured.

– All subscriptions for the delivery of contents and/or information made prior to the effectivity of this Circular shall continue to be honored until the expiration of the subscription. Subscribers with valid subscriptions prior to the effectivity of this Circular may opt to terminate the subscription prior to expiration. Contents and/or information service providers and CMTS providers shall inform their respective subscribers of their option to pre-terminate their existing subscriptions.

That means you should not get any spammy SMS asking you to download a ringtone or wallpaper, subscribe to some text or call promo, or join an SMS contest.

Those in the Cell Phone business tells us this could kill as much as 90% of the revenues generated by the industry. But many filipinos think this revenues were generated out of robbery of our hard earned money. What do you think?

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