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RP ISPs face uphill fight for survival
By Helen A. Jimenez, Senior Reporter
Business World Online,
December 10, 2001


Philonline's chief operating officer Jayson B. Yu, meanwhile, called for more reasonable pricing of telecommunications costs. He questioned why ISPs are charged 2,500 Philippine pesos (US$48 at PhP51.961=$1) a month per dial-up line while ordinary corporate telephone subscribers are charged only about PhP1,500. "We feel there is big discrepancy when it comes to pricing given to the ISPs compared to other companies," Mr. Yu said.

He stressed that ISPs are among telcos' biggest clients and even consume less resources since all their calls are inbound. "We are (even) using access concentrators, which means that they don't have to physically lay down a hundred lines...the equipment is on our end so their investment (on the ISPs) is lower," Mr. Yu said.

Aside from pricing discrepancy, Mr. Yu lamented that telcos tend to introduce services that are "predatory" to other players like the ISPs. He cited PLDT's DSL (digital subscriber line) service which offers subscribers high-speed Internet bandwidth at only PhP2,500. If PLDT can afford to offer DSL, which is already a high-end service at PhP2,500, Mr. Yu surmised there is something really wrong with dial-up price charged to ISPs.

High-speed Internet connectivity for corporate clients used to be the bread and butter of the ISPs.

Considering that ISPs get their supply of raw materials (telephone lines, leased lines, international bandwidth) from telcos, Mr. Chua of Web Philippines said these companies should also recognize that "we are also some of their biggest clients. We believe that if we buy in bulk, discounts should be made available to us to ensure that we can bundle our offerings and not price ourselves out of the market."

In any industry, Mr. Chua said it is very difficult to compete with suppliers. He called on the government to take steps to ensure that small and medium businesses are able to coexist and prosper alongside bigger companies.

PISO has also asked the government to ensure a more level playing field for every player in the ICT market. "It should not be over protective of the telcos," Mr. Contreras said.

Similarly, Mr. Torres called for changes in government's VAS policy to ensure healthy competition and cooperation between telcos and ISPs.

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