Friday, August 31, 2001

Court Issues Restraining Order against Mobile phone Companies

The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City issued today a temporary restraining order barring mobile phone operators Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms and Pilipino Telephone Corporation from cutting free text message allocations to their subscribers. The court issued the order in connection with the petition filed by consumer group Philippine League of Democratic Telecommunications (PLDTi) which claims that the decision of the mobile phone operators constitutes a breach of contract with their millions of mobile phone subscribers.

The mobile phone companies anchored their opposition on the technical ground that the Court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter. According to them, the government agency tasked to regulate telephone companies is the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). To rebut the opposition, PLDTI presented a letter by a Globe Executive to a congressman which letter stated that text messaging is a "deregulated" service, and is therefore not under the jurisdiction of the National Telecommunications Commission.

The temporary restraining order is effective only for twenty (20) days during which the mobile phone operators will be given the chance to present new arguments on why the restraining order should not be extended.

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