Globe wants Dito to pay P622M penalty after antitrust complaint

·3 min read

AYALA-LED Globe Telecom has asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to require Dito Telecommunity to pay for interconnection penalties amounting to P622 million.

The penalties were brought about by fraudulent calls placed through Dito’s network to Globe, bypassing proper voice traffic channels.

An average of 1,000 fraudulent calls–identified as international in origin but masked as local calls– are allowed to pass through Dito’s network to Globe users every day, in violation of interconnect rules.

The penalty covering one year, from July 2021 to July 2022, has ballooned with Dito’s adamant refusal to compensate Globe, defying provisions of its interconnect agreement on bypass traffic. In comparison, zero or no bypass traffic has been allowed to pass from Globe to Dito due to its advanced monitoring systems and sophisticated network protection from illegal calls.

To date, reports of fraudulent calls continue to illegally pass through Dito’s network.

Globe asked the NTC to authorize its temporary disconnection of interconnection trunk lines with Dito until the latter has “taken positive and concrete steps to stop all illegal bypass operations emanating from its network” and paid all its outstanding liabilities to Globe for fraudulent calls.

Globe pointed out that fraudulent traffic continues to rise despite Dito’s assurance that it has improved its Fraud Management System capability to block illegal calls.

“Clearly, Dito has not only failed to compensate Globe, it also has not taken any serious actions to curtail bypass activities emanating from its network and terminating in Globe’s. Indeed, these bypass activities have not waned but have in fact continuously increased over the said period. Dito’s twin failures to check these bypass activities and pay Globe what it is justly due have worked on a continuing serious prejudice against Globe,” Globe said in its pleading.

“Moreover, these unabated illegal activities have placed the interconnection trunks at serious risk of abuse and the resultant undue congestion of the network, to the detriment of the subscribers,” it said.

Globe said it has been patiently working through the legal route to fix the matter and ensure that customers will continue to enjoy cross-network interconnectivity.

Earlier, Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said they filed charges before the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against Globe and PLDT/Smart for “not being very compliant” with their deals, which he said hindered their company’s growth.

Tamano said their subscribers find it “very difficult” to interconnect with Globe and PLDT/Smart users.

The China Telecom-backed firm accused the two firms of “abuse” of their dominance.

“They’re giants. Our market share for the entire market is at most five percent. There would be no question who is in the dominant position,” Tamano said.

He said they could have a much higher market share once interconnection issues are addressed.

Entering into network interconnect agreements enables good customer experience and allows for competition to thrive in the telecom sector. This enablement is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which underscore the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.

The move is also part of the company’s commitment to comply with directives of the NTC.

Republic Act 7925, or “An act to promote and govern the development of Philippine telecommunications and the delivery of public telecommunications services” carries a provision for compulsory interconnection among all providers.

The law aims to create a universally accessible and fully integrated nationwide telecom network to encourage more infrastructure investments from the private sector that would benefit consumers.

Globe reiterates its commitment to comply with regulatory requirements while continuing to advocate fair business practices. (PR)