Philippines Networks Asked to Justify Fair-Use Caps on Mobile Data Downloads

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The Philippines telecoms regulator, the NTC has confirmed that it is reviewing rules on whether mobile networks can impose usage caps on mobile data downloads.

Two networks, Globes and Smart impose the download caps, and have been the cause of increasing volumes of complaints from customers to the regulator.

Smart has a fair use policy that limits downloads to 1.5GB per month while Globe caps usage at 3GB per month, and also has a daily limit of 1GB per day.

Users who exceed the cap are switched to the slower GSM network for the duration of the month.

Globe has been summoned to the regulator to explain the cap, although it argues that the cap has been in place for several years and it is only the recent surge in mobile data use that has made it evident. The company says that around 3 percent of its mobile data users account for the heaviest download traffic.

Globe said it enforced the fair use policy for postpaid data plans to "protect the data experience of the majority of subscribers who regularly use the network for work or leisure."

"The fair use policy is an industry issue that is being implemented by all telco players in the country, even globally in the most advanced economies," said Globe legal counsel Froilan Castelo.

A data cap is not actually banned, but there are questions about whether it was adequately explained when customers signed up for the service.

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Tags: ntc  smart  globe  Philippines 

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