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.

For as low as 5 bucks extra per month some providers can give you unlimited calling to 50 countries here. Why are India, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand on the list and not RP ?  Here’s another pathetic example – a Tagalog sounding provider offering unlimited calling to 40 countries for a fixed monthly fee.  The only problem is RP isn’t on its list of the 40 countries.  Why shoot yourself in the foot with the Tagalog name when Pinas isn’t even on your frigging list ? The irony is I get a lot of telemarketing calls from Pinas, offering prepaid telephone calling cards so I can save money on the ludicrous long distance rates.  I don’t need the stupid calling cards – they’re being sold here too. I need cheap rates with the likes of other Asian countries.  Don’t expect RP to be in the list of countries that want to do business with the rest of the world anytime soon. It’s government is more interested in fattening the pockets of its carriers rather than encouraging economic growth through trade and commerce.

Talking about government bureaucracy or idiocy in Pinas, years ago its telecommunications agency proposed a rule that stores selling Bluetooth capable devices must employ a licensed ECE (Electronics and Communications Engr) else it would be restricted from selling the product. LOL. That’s like requiring a licensed mechanical engineer for stores that sell bicycles 🙂 Now you know where the problem lies – if you can’t fucking understand how Bluetooth works , how can you possibly manage a country’s telecommunications infrastructure effectively? 😡


As mentioned in my previous post, the wifey and I had our pre-Valentine celebration at the Mariah Carey concert at the ACC last February 9th. The show was supposed to start at 730pm with the group RydazNrtist opening the show for 20 minutes with Mariah to follow. It turned out the opening act started at around 800pm and Mariah came out 45 minutes after the group finished its number, duh. What a wait. I actually thought she came out because of the loud boos from the crowd who were obviously pissed by the long delay. When the curtains opened, Mariah was perched on a swing high up in the ceiling , looking resplendent, wrapped in her gold colored gown. She slowly descended to the stage floor amidst the loud ovation from the crowd. For those who were served food at the executive boxes, she showed up at dessert time 🙂 After a song two male dancers promptly stripped the bottom part of her gown transforming her attire into a mini skirt revealing her legs. Alas, the almost 2 hour wait was instantly forgotten. The mere sight of her sufficed for an unequivocal forgiveness. 😎

It turned out that Mariah was suffering from a slight cold and was sipping a combination of tea, apple cider and water from a small table at the corner of the stage between songs. At one point, she offered her wine glass filled with cider to a die hard male fan at the front row. She begged forgiveness for her cold and the lipstick mark on the glass. I knew the man couldn’t care less. I wouldn’t – even if she had swine flu – hahaha 🙂 Just joking – I got the swine flu vaccine, remember ? 😉

One thing a bit disappointing about Mariah was she barely moved , no matter the tempo of the song. I wasn’t sure if it had to do with her well endowed (materiales fuertes) baggage or the 5 inch heels which made her look like she was tiptoeing on the stage the whole time. But who really cared. Her divalicious image nullified all her shortcomings. She’s a gorgeous diva who can really sing – period. The production wasn’t all that great, the dancers were amateurish, the sound system was too loud , the reviews were so so but heck I would pay to watch her if she was singing inside a garage. Maria Carey turns 40 in March. Still divalicious – without a doubt 🙂

37 Responses

  1. I still prefer to use VOIP with a month free calls for US, Canada, Australia, NZ after topping $20. Im also disappointed the way the Philippine deals with our telecommuncation networks!!! It seems that the administration is protecting the providers instead the consumers.

    Well I love to watch/listen to our very Pinoy talents than Mariah C. So why not tune in 24/7 and even greet friends!

    • Now that’s a pretty good deal you got bro 😉

      The Pinas govt is so lame that it gives these monopolistic carriers a free hand on what they want to do. People have no one to go to complain if their service sucks. Case in point, my parent’s in law’s landline in the suburbs of Manila is still down up to now for almost a month 😦

      Awesome ! Thanks for the link. I’ll tune in to it 🙂

      • If you dont mind, could you please send me a private message about your real identity. I just want to greet you and your wife during tonight’s program, 4-6pm (Canada time). All the best. Rey

  2. […] original post here: SILLY LONG DISTANCE RATES « The Warped Zone Share and […]

  3. that concert sure sounded great kahit na may delay! glad you had fun!

  4. rates are going down these days because of healthy competition. You will not need a landline in the future. The cell phone will do it all for you, including internet access.

    Mariah Carey is hot !

    • I believe you. Nowadays people use their Iphones and Blackberrys for everything – phone, browsing, PDA, GPS and MP3 player !

      She is – could still lose 5 lbs but heck, she’s oK 🙂

  5. I use prepaid calling cards to call anywhere. It’s really cheap these days.

    wow..Mariah’s swing act is so cute. I love her songs. I hate to watch concerts when singers show up late too. Maybe half an hour is okay 🙂

    • Prepaid is the cheapest option but sometimes the quality sucks and it could be a drag 😯

      The production wasn’t great but Mariah is Mariah 🙂 Darn, we stood to leave at exactly 11pm to catch our 11:13pm train. I think we may have missed a song.

  6. SKYPE is free. You can even see the person you’re talking to BUT I hardly use it now, ran out of things to say, hehe…

    Never been a Mariah fan, there seem to be something in her that I just don’t like, maybe her sagging b**bs, hehe,,,,,like Beyonce better.

    • True, SKYPE is free but then some people esp back home aren’t quite savvy internet users. As for running out of things to say, the wifey calls her family every day believe me 🙂

      Both Mariah and Beyonce are hot methinks. Beyonce’s more of a complete performer coz she dances and moves a lot 😉

      • Then Skype is made for your wife. If they have PC back there, just send them a 50/75 dollars worth of camera with headset mic, plug it in and wallllaa!, She can really talk for hours.

        Stopped talking to my relatives, puro pautang dito, pautang doon ang punta ng usapan, hehe….even yung bunson namin sa Winnipeg, nangungutang – lahat di naman nagbabayad. Bakasyon ng bakasyon sa Pinas, sa akin pa galing pocket money, wuhuhu….

        • Skype is really great excepty that the wifey also calls her sis, cousin and neice on their cell phones. 😉

          Hahaha… pautang dito, pautang doon… sometimes you can just say pautang ina naman LOL. :mrgreen:

  7. Haha, that alltimetawag promo is so strange. Hindi kasali si Pilipinas pero isinali si “tawag”. Ang mahal nga ng tawag to Manila. It’s good the provider in UAE offers cheap rates during Friday (whole day) and the rest of the day (from 3-4pm).

    • What an oxymoron – isn’t it ? Once I almost subscribed to a local carrier here with their free ASIA calling package only to find out that Pinas is not included . duh 😦

  8. It’s no wonder RP is a laggard in world business, those greedy crones in the telecom industry are protecting their own interests in the guise of nationalism. Heck, even their broadband services are a joke compared to other countries.

    • No we know why we’re not progressing as much as our Southeast Asian neighbors. As for services, these carriers don’t care after all, customers can’t complain to the government because they too couldn’t care less 😦

  9. …MagicJack..Noy, Google this and find out some more.

    Sorry Noy, Noranian forever ako, Mariah is hot, a favorite among transgenders in Pinas to impersonate at “Fiesta” minus one singing competitions.

    • Magicjack is awesome – costing about $20 per year ! The only caveat is it only works through the internet. It is great.

      Hehe.. akala ko si Norah Jones 🙂 Celine and Mariah are the favorites methinks. Mariah is a little harder to copy because of her heavy baggage 😆

  10. I have lost tracked of long distance fees since I stopped calling home. But if we do call overseas, we always use phone cards, at least we know when to shut up.

    I think Mariah included San Jose on her tour too. Never was a fan of her, but I love her songs 😀

    • “we always use phone cards, at least we know when to shut up.”

      My wife also uses a phone card – cheap indeed. Problem is, she can replenish it with her credit card when the minutes run out hehe 🙂

      Right on. San Jose is probably part of her Angel’s Advocate Tour. Know what, the production isn’t really great. Nowhere compared to Diana Ross who sang with a 40 man orchestra 😉

      The venue – where the NBA and NHL teams play was cut in half and there were probably around 9,000 seats but it was full house. I took a shot of the stage with my Blackberry – I’ll post it sometime. If not for Mariah, I could have dozed off in the concert hehe 🙂

  11. No doubt that the Philippines is not open for business. As a foreigner I can’t do much here in the Philippines… not even selling chocolates from Belgium 😦
    Everything is protected… no wonder the consumer gets lousy services.

    So you are a die-hard fan of Maria Carey? I must admit she looks good ..even at 40 !

    • I’m not surprised. RP will post the lowest growth rate in Southeast Asia. Why ? Because of government protectionist policies favoring those who pay the highest money so that potential competition is decimated. This is the suicide pill that the country has swallowed which if not given the antidote will kill the nation slowly

      Check the link below. RP will have the least growth in Southeast Asia.

      And what’s the solution ??? Sending people to work abroad to bail out the economy ! That’s a different kind of people power, isn’t it. Sadly it is a stop gap measure, one that doesn’t truly strengthen the national economy 😦

      Dunno, but I still couldn’t figure out why SONY Records CEO Tony Mottola divorced her 🙂 Well, lets just say that at 40 she’s put on a little meat but in the perfect places hehe 😉


  12. I thought the country is a close second to India in the BPO business. I work for a call center in Makati. How can we compete if our long distance rates are way more expensive than other countries ?

    • India is now building or partnering with Phils in setting up their backup call centers in Pinas. Malaysia is also hiring Pinoys to staff their call centers in Malaysia. So there – we still prefer to supply labor rather than doing it ourselves big time. Unfortunately our rates are still one of the highest in Asia. RP telecom carriers are stil operating with the silo mentality and are not feeding off the synergies with one another.

  13. Hmmn… I must agree. By her looks alone, Mariah Carey still a divalicious at her ripe age of 40 🙂

    I can’t comment about our telcos here. What I know is that telcos here still charge much higher as compared to telcos in other countries. I remember back in 1993, I made an operator-assisted call in a calling station in Butuan City for a long-distance call to Japan. I was charged 700 pesos for that 3 minutes of phone conversation. 😦

    • She’s perfect at 40 if you ask me hehe 😉

      Hey, it’s even worse from overseas, where rates to Pinas are embarrasingly high, almost like calling a communist country or an under-developed country. You can’t brag to be a technically savvy country when your rates are this high. That’s the image that Pinas gets from abroad. It’s unfortunate 😦

  14. what else is new? what else is new sa Lupang Hinirang? I dunno.. it is so damned frustrating to think that pinapatay na ng mga buwaya ang taong bayan at wala tayong magawa. ibang klase bureaucracy sa Pinas.

    i am not a fan of Mariah now. i like her better when she was younger and more demure looking. ang dami nang nabago sa features nya. she is really pretty before and so petite. but i must admit she has a very powerful voice.

    • An international think tank organization that measures the ease of doing business in every region of the world has this to say :

      Out of 24 countries in the East Asia and Pacific, RP ranks 21st in the ease of doing business category followed by Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Lao PDR. So it’s not just us saying so, it is confirmed by an independent watchdog organization !

      Oh yeah, Mariah was even more gorgeous when she was younger. I’m just saying that even at 40 – she’s STILL divalicious hehe 😆

  15. “What a wait. I actually thought she came out because of the loud boos from the crowd who were obviously pissed by the long delay.”

    — you have no idea that that kind of delay is shorter compare to our local musicians. I remember when I watched Hoobastank performed in Manila, they were on time, while their front act, River Maya, was late for an hour… kainis at nakakahiya di ba?

    • So the opening group acted like they were the spoiled celebs hehe 😉

      In Mariah’s case, people’s schedules were screwed because of her lateness. Even the servers at the executive boxes serving food had to be paid overtime ! But people forgot as soon as Mariah started the concert coz she looked so chunky edible :mrgreen:

  16. “she looked so chunky edible” – parang sauce na lang, complete na 😀

    I’m a bit jealous because I want to see her on stage..before she turns 60 and would come a day late to her own concert 😛

    • … in truth, no need for sauce 🙂

      hahaha… you mean Tina Turner shows up a day late at her concerts these days ? She’s like what, 65 ? :mrgreen:

  17. PS. I love the diva’s shot on the swing.

    • that’s the official shot from the newspaper that did the concert review 🙂 darn, the don’t allow us to bring our cameras into the show.. my Blackberry is only 3 mp – not good enough to take pics 😯

      sorry for the delay in responding… got hooked on the Vancouver winter Olympics final games these weekend 🙂

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