PLDT, Inc. said its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. had offered a “substantial discount” on compensation that DITO Telecommunity Corp. should pay for alleged fraudulent international calls.
“International calls using DITO SIMs, [which] should have been subject to proper toll rates, came through [Smart’s] network as local calls, with DITO mobile numbers as caller IDs,” PLDT said in a statement to the stock exchange.
PLDT issued the statement on Aug. 11 after DITO’s filing of a complaint with the Philippine Competition Commission against Smart and Globe Telecom.
“[Smart]… is not engaged in any act constituting abuse of dominant position or other anticompetitive behavior against DITO,” PLDT said.
PLDT noted that DITO’s vulnerable network has adversely affected SMART subscribers due to “low-grade calls from masked DITO numbers” and “spam or robot calls and scams from overseas sources that are difficult to trace.”
It also disclosed that DITO had sought additional interconnection capacity, but the new player must comply with Smart’s conditions.
Smart wants operational coordination and fraud detection measures to mitigate illegal bypass traffic, as well as an agreement that outlines the procedures for handling any bypass activity and the computation of penalties for fraudulent calls.
DITO said that Smart’s statement is an admission that it is “making interconnection, which is mandated by law, subject to the acceptance of their request for compensation.” It argued that the alleged fraudulent calls are “made by third parties, and that DITO is equally a victim of such calls.”
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin