Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, February 11, 2005

NTC orders telco to stop charging for chikka.com

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Thursday ordered all mobile phone networks to stop charging local subscribers receiving text messages from chikka.com, a local service provider.

Chikka.com is a Philippine-based company offering Internet-based text messenger services.
NTC Commissioner Ronald Solis said that chikka.com is not authorized to charge subscribers for a premium service it was offering since it is not registered with the agency as a value-added service provider.

"During the meeting of the Technical Working Group of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology and the House Committee on Trade and Industry on February 7,2005, it was mentioned that subscribers who received text messages from chikka.com are charged P2.50 per short text message. Our records show that such service is not registered with the Commission," Solis said in a written order sent to five mobile phone companies.

Edgardo Cabarios, director of the NTC’s Common Carrier Department, told reporters that Chikka.com was not supposed to charge a premium price for the text messaging service since it is not even registered in the agency as a value-added service provider.

"We always thought it was a free service until recently," he added.

Sought for comment, Chikka.com spokesperson Junie Agcaoli said that it would issue a statement only after it sees the actual NTC order.

Chikka.com offers various Internet-to-mobile phone services such as Web-based text messaging. In its website, it indicates that its text messenger is a free service allowing local subscribers to send text messages to another local subscriber via a PC connected to the Internet. It recently bagged a deal with US carriers, allowing local subscribers to send text messages to US-based users.

Chikka.com's service however allows the recipient of the free text message to reply. In this case, the recipient has to pay a premium charge of P2.50 per message.

Users can download the Chikka.com text messenger software for free


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