In an attempt to resolve the ongoing dispute between cellular phone leader Smart Communications Inc. and digital trunked radio operator Nextel of Infocom Communications Network Inc., the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set an interim amount that will be charged for calls to and from the two networks.
The commission, in its four-page order, said that the temporary interconnect charges should be P1.50 or 50 percent of the lowest rate per minute being imposed by mobile phone operators on their subscribers.
The NTC decision is expected to pave the way for full interconnection of the networks of both parties.
At present, while Smart customers can call Nextel, subscribers of the latter are being barred from reaching Smart.
Smart claimed that since Nextel is not a cellular phone operator, it is not entitled to a share of revenues from calls between the two networks, an argument which Nextel branded as unfair.
The NTC, though, stressed that it is only right that interconnecting parties must compensate each other.
Moreover, interconnection is mandated by the law and while Nextel could technically stand alone, it is required to link its telephone service with the public switched telephone network (PSTN) of all carriers in order for users of one network to have access to other customers of the service wherever they may be in the country, NTC said.
According to the NTC, only after Smart and Nextel are able to provide the commission with their respective cost data can regulatory body be able to determine what the permanent charges should be.
Smart and Nextel were already directed to submit all the necessary financial documents showing the incremental costs of their networks within the month.