Under-served By 20,000 Cell Sites, Government is Spurred to Action

The vice chairman of the Philippines House Committee on Appropriations last Sunday urged the government to shape up the country’s telecommunication companies by passing a measure mandating “minimum quality standards” for mobile telephone services, according to the Business Mirror.

Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte Jr. of the Second District of Camarines Sur issued the statement after Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma expressed indictment on the state of internet services in the Philippines.

“Government regulators should all the more crack the whip on the country’s telecommunication companies for them to shape up,” he said.“The frank observation by Ma during his Manila visit on the quality of the country’s internet services should not be taken lightly by the National Telecommunications Commission, given that this came from a global technopreneur who has built his fortune on internet-based businesses, including e-commerce giant Alibaba,” he told the Business Mirror.

The lawmaker, citing the recent report of the OpenSignal, said that out of 75 countries included in a study assessing the average quality of mobile 4G connectivity, the Philippines ranked a dismal 72nd, with 52.77-percent availability and 71st with 8.59-Mbps download speed.

Villafuerte urged the leadership to approve House Bill 4695 mandating the minimum quality standards for mobile telephone services, while punishing telcos guilty of “horrendous complaints by subscribers, such as poor network signals, overcharging, interrupted or dropped voice calls, vanishing prepaid loads and the surge of spam messages.”

Villafuerte also urged local government units to ease regulations for telcos in setting up the infrastructure necessary to ensure the delivery of reliable, faster digital services.  “There are now about 20,000 cell sites in the country against 70,000 in Vietnam,” he said.

November 8, 2017                 

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