July 18, 2013
Philippines’ telecom laws need a revamp

Grace Mirandilla-Santos


Grace Mirandilla-Santos | July 16, 2013

Unlike in other countries where telecommunication was developed and operated primarily by the state, in the Philippines it’s the private sector that is leading and reaping the rewards of this lucrative sector.


Not that the government would do or know better, if it had its way. But since the liberalization era in the early 1990s and the e-Commerce law in 2000, legislation and policymaking targeted at helping the sector has pretty much stagnated.

Take convergence, for example. A bill on converging telecommunications-related technologies, which allows telcos and ISPs to offer multimedia services, has been languishing in Congress for more than a decade.
Doubts of a convergence law ever happening are founded on the difficult question of its constitutionality. A Globe Telecom official once said that the Philippine Constitution, particularly the provision on 100% Filipino ownership of mass media, would need to be amended first.
But today, it seems that all the debates are moot and academic. The private telcos are already steering the way toward convergence sans a law, and with little or no involvement from the government.


Read the full entry here. Visit Telecom Asia for news and analysis for Asia’s telecoms operators.

July 10, 2013
Good new (re)start for PH eGov development

Grace Mirandilla-Santos


Grace Mirandilla-Santos | July 05, 2013

The Philippines celebrated “National ICT month” last June. But unlike in previous years, the government unveiled quite a number of ICT programs and services this time around.

The ICT Office (ICTO) under the Department of Science and Technology, which now handles the functions of the defunct Commission on ICT, first launched its flagshipIntegrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) Project in June 2012.

ICTO’s executive director Louis C. Casambre said the project would integrate and provide “essential core services, and the necessary protocols and standards to make feasible secure yet open and efficient interoperability among all government ICT systems.” iGovPhil was also designed to solve the problems of poor synergies and cross-project collaborations, which the 8 billion peso ($186 million) eGovernment Fund for 2003-2011 failed to meet.

Last month, ICTO introduced supporting ICT apps and services, such as the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), a government-wide email system (GovMail), the government cloud (GovCloud), Agency Records Inventory System (AgRIS), and the government website template.

The skeptic would simply dismiss these as a rehash of the same old ICT programs that would forever remain on the drawing board. But these initiatives and the progress thus far are actually impressive by PH government standard.


Read the full entry here. Visit Telecom Asia for news and analysis for Asia’s telecoms operators.

April 25, 2013
Are social media helping improve telcos’ CRM?

Grace Mirandilla-Santos


Grace Mirandilla-Santos | April 25, 2013

Unless you live under a rock or in North Korea, you should know that social is the way to go.

Social media - blogging, online social networking, and micro-blogging - have become so pervasive that it is almost unthinkable for a business entity - at least those who want to remain relevant - not to use them.

In telecom, social media have transformed not only business models but the very concept of customer service. Never before have consumers been given the power and ability to inquire, give feedback, complain, demand, or throw a fit with the whole of cyberspace as audience. 

But are telcos using Facebook and Twitter in a way that improves customer experience? Or are they using social media only because they have to? My Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline are a rich source of anecdotes telling me that it’s more the latter than the former.

I have read a variety of posts ranging from simple complaints (“My internet is slow today.”), to clarificatory (“Is there a way to fix this?”), to violent (“Magsara na lang kayo!”). That last quote in Filipino roughly translates to “just close shop!”, which doesn’t quite capture how an irate, desperate customer truly feels once all civility and options have been exhausted.

Read the full entry here. Visit Telecom Asia for news and analysis for Asia’s telecoms operators.

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