- House of Representatives
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Recent explosion over the media on the issue of the "PLDT-Digitel deal" raises the question on "What will be the impact that the merger might have on consumers and on the price of the service that consumers pay for their cellphone (and internet) services?" as Secretary Ricky A. Carandang relayed from economic managers.
What if the PLDT-Digitel deal is approved?
PLDT would become the undisputed leader in the Philippine telecommunications industry. It would have 2G and 3G licenses and frequency allocations control plus owning 70% of the domestic market.
This ain't much of a concern by the consumer public. So what? Good for them. Good for us? "Experts" should examine whether it is good or not for the bargaining power or the ability to control prices of the consumers.
Digitel's Sun Cellular is well-known for its introduction of "unlimited call and text" or the "bucket pricing" in the telcom sector thereby making Globe and Smart initiate their own "unlimited" schemes.
Analysts in newspapers columns say that purchase of Digitel by PLDT (Smart) would remove "price wars" that is keeping telcom prices at affordable rates. It would also shoo away San Miguel Corp. from the competition as what it had brushed shoulders with in other sectors.
Recently, President Aquino ordered the deal to a halt as they try to investigate the P69.2-billion invesment.
Awakening A Sleeping Monopoly?
“We will keep Digitel as a separate company. This is not a merger… more importantly, we will maintain the unlimited and bucket-priced services of Sun Cellular," Pangilinan told reporters.
PLDT says (as what I have read on newspapers) that the merger would be beneficial since it would result to better services and more competitive prices.
In fact, it is what we consumers are not sure of.
We don't want to return to the dark ages of the old monopoly like 20 years ago. When Lee Kuan Yew delivered a speech in the country, President Fidel Ramos took action on what the Prime Minister of Singapore said:
"In the Philippines, 95% of the population has no telephone, while the remaining 5% are waiting for the dial tone."
Thus, legalities were done to liberalize and break the monopoly of the telecommunications industry.
We, the undersigned believe that this is for our welfare Whatever company we subscribe to, we consumers care about our rights over business interest.
We use those services for our leisure activities, to know what is happening in the world, to communicate with our friends, and especially to call our families abroad. We cannot afford to have a no-choice or locked in on a limited set of service products.
We request the government regulators and Congress to really investigate the deal and its effects to us. We ordinary citizens who use cellphone and internet services regularly. We hope that they judge it decisively for public interest.
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The Congress Must Investigate PLDT-Digitel Merger Deal petition to House of Representatives was written by ryuamakusa and is in the category Consumer Affairs at GoPetition.