SILLY RATES

Long distance rates – a barometer of economic progress?

At a small Asian mall where I normally have my monthly haircut I saw a sign at a store window  : “ FREE OVERSEAS CALL – 30 MINUTES”. It was a promotion for a startup company competing in the VOIP ( Voice Over IP ) or voice over the internet space. The ad was true and you can call for free to any of the 20 countries the company covers under its unlimited overseas plan. Unfortunately, RP was not included in the list. I already got a sense that RP is a long shot, considering the ludcirous long distance rate it charges compared to other countries. I blogged about this issue in 2007 and things haven’t changed. After a couple of years, RP rates have just gone down a tad 2 cents per minute on the average, from 13 cents down to 11 cents. Pretty pathetic considering that other countries have opened up, making their countries accessible for business.

This company offers 9.9 cents per min for cell phone but 11.9 cents for landline. Still high. Moreover, businesses use landlines more than cell phones.  Very high compared to India, where the rate dropped from 7.9 cents to 1.9 cents over the last 2 years. Now this tells me that India is open for business. True to India’s reputation of being the world’s largest call center outsourcer, its cheap long distance rates certainly helps in promoting the business.   Contrast this with the high rates to RP  because  a clique of RP telecom carriers are playing their selfish game of enriching their treasure chests, trying to hold on to their monopolistic practices.  Blame the government for its lame policies, reneging on its mission to promote the interests of the country first, allowing itself to be manipulated by the powerful bigwigs of the telecom industry.  While the rest of the world are opening up and embracing deregulation, RP is acting only on the interests of  a  couple of telecom providers,  whose main mission is the preservation of their obscene profit margins and the systematic decimation of potential competitors.
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