PLDT to offer VoIP Services

Discussion in 'DSL & Info Tech News' started by marche, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. PLDT to offer VoIP Services

    The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) will not pave a smooth road for independent internet service providers (ISPs) aiming to grab a slice of the local market for voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

    Weeks before the government will release its final ruling on the VoIP debate, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday that the country's biggest telco will start offering this year VoIP services among corporate and residential users.

    There are over 53 ISPs in the Philippines as of 2004, majority of them are independent and not owned by telcos. PLDT, on the other hand, owns an ISP called Infocom Technologies Inc. under its information and communication technology arm ePLDT.

    The decision of PLDT to branch out more aggressively into VoIP is reminiscent of the moves of foreign telcos Chunghwa Telecom in China, British Telecom in England, and Korea Telecom in South Korea, which have all leveraged on VoIP as a value-added feature that could compensate for losses in voice services.

    VoIP allows users to call over the internet at a reduced cost. Voice is channeled over the internet protocol, broken down into packets, sent out to an IP-based network, then reassembled into back to voice.

    "PLDT is not about to settle in the middle-age status. We have to change paradigms," Mr. Pangilinan said at yesterday's PLDT financial and operating results announcement.

    "If we would look at the drivers of growth for fixedline in the last five years in the US [United States], voice, data and video are at the top of the list. Video is at the bottom but it is the fastest growing. If that were any indication then we think a voice-only service cannot stand the test of time."

    The debate on VoIP streams from the November 25, 2003 memorandum circular of the Department of Transportation and Communication that granted telcos the exclusive right to offer VoIP. The circular was opposed by ISPs, which the were effectively barred from offering the service.

    ISPs claim that VoIP is a value-added service and therefore should not be offered exclusively by the telcos. The telcos however said that VoIP is a voice technology that can only be offered by those with congressional licenses.

    The debate was brought to the National Telecommunication Commission.

    NTC chairman Ronald O. Solis said the commission will hand down its final ruling on VoIP before end-March.

    Mr. Solis has refused to to give hints on whether or not the regulator will finally allow entry of ISPs into VoIP although the Congress itself has initiated moves toward that direction.

    The House of Representatives came up with two proposed laws that could end the monopoly of telcos in VoIP and free up competition to ISPs. House Bill 3476 House Bill 3644 are still pending for public hearing.

    National Economic Development Authority director-general Romulo L. Neri also called for the opening of the VoIP service to other players aside from telcos.

    Despite contention from the ISPs and Congress, PLDT has souped up plans in the VoIP space, rolling out fiber optics and offering aggressive internet connection pricing schemes that can support VoIP.

    At lesser cost, Mr. Pangilinan said that the using IP-based networks rather than copper wires would boost its internet business.

    PLDT has also started priming up aggressive pricing schemes for narrowband, broadband, wireless fidelity and WiMAX - connections that are all ready for VoIP.

    The company reported about 360,000 narrowband subscribers as of end 2004, twice as many as it counted in 2003. For broadband subscribers, PLDT has acquired over 50,000 users before last year grew to a close. --

    Kerlyn G. Bautista]


    Also, to my understanding, PLDT will upgrade their PBX to packet switching (i think this is similar to what Verizon did to its $1bn upgrade of 50,000 co's to novell packet switching hardware)

    Interesting to note though, PLDT's reason to push broadband is to offer VoIP, to corner the broadband market, therefore minimizing competition from VAS providers, should the NTC allow VAS providers to participate in the VoIP market in the Philippines.

    Also hypothetically speaking, PLDT can block the SIP port, which will essentially destroy small players offering VoIP services to myDSL subs. (VERY MUCH LIKE WHAT some ISPs are doing to VONAGE in the states)

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