Friday ∗ 01 Aug 2008

post-SONA blues 2: what’s in a txt (message)?

In her last SONA, the one thing that seemed like a good thing was this:

Para sa mga namamasada at namamasahe sa dyip, sinusugpo natin ang kotong at colorum upang mapataas ang kita ng mga tsuper. Si Federico Alvarez kumikita ng P200 a day sa kaniyang rutang Cubao-Rosario. Tinaas ito ng anti-kotong, anti-colorum ngayon P500 na ang kita niya. Iyan ang paraan kung paano napananatili ang dagdag-pasahe sa piso lamang. Halaga lang ng isang text.


Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.

The first paragraph was complete with the presence of Manong Federico, in a barong, obviously uncomfortable, but who apparently had more reason to be there than elsewhere. The second was greeted with canned applause, and GMA’s wide smile.

But of course it took only a day to realize that the promise of 50 cents per txt message is an empty one.

Both Smart and Globe have been selling their own versions of “unlimited text messaging” for the longest time, where you pay a certain amount for a fixed number of txts within your network. For Smart’s Unlimitxt for example, you pay P20 for 100 txts to other Smart numbers, plus 10 free txts to other networks; Globe’s version of this is called EverybodyTXT20. These promos in fact, defeat the point of GMA’s promise.

Which as it turns out, can only be availed of if and when we pay P20 pesos to register for the 50-cents-per-txt promise. And you wonder: given the P20 pesos=100 txts promos, why would you settle for a P20 pesos for 50-cents-per-txt promo? Considering that both these options only last a certain amount of time – which, by the way, is never mentioned in these telecom companies’ advertisements, nor was it mentioned by GMA – none ofthis makes rational sense.

Malacanang’s press office itself released a statement talking about the telecom companies’ promise to continue with their “promos” – all of which require a P20-peso registration fee. Without realizing it, that press statement admitted to one thing about its boss: that she had lied through her teeth about the 50-cents-per-txt promise.

Kaya pala isang sentence lang ang inaksaya ni GMA sa pangakong ito. Mas mahaba pa ang pasakalye gamit ang kuwento ni Manong Federico.

And without knowing it, GMA, in her desperate need to make a promise – any promise! – that would deserve some amount of celebration from the ignorant and/or ill-informed, had opened up a can of worms. As TxtPower via Tonyo Cruz has pointed out, if there’s anything that these promos tell us, it’s that both Globe and Smart are overpricing their consumers with the standard rate of P1.00 per txt, and even with a false promise of 50 cents per txt. TxtPower also insists that it’s entirely possible that without interconnection charges and GMA’s beloved VAT, both of which can be removed, txt messaging could cost as low as P1.00 for 100 txt messages.

TXTPower: one point. GMA: liar with zero points.

Globe and Smart: m/tr/illions of pesos in profit.

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