The Solution – the vanishing and expiring mobile credits
Just recently, the Senate of the Philippines conducted a hearing to determine what is causing the sudden disappearance of mobile credits plus an inquiry as to why mobile loads comes with an expiration date.
Representatives from Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications Inc., and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (Sun Cellular) attended the inquiry. So we already know the problem, let us talk about the solution. Let us talk about the disappearing mobile credits first:
There are only two possible reasons why its happening – wrong billing and unauthorize deduction of mobile credits. Wrong billing and delayed billing are problems of telecommunication companies. They should upgrade their billing system and make it real time. Real time meaning as soon as the credits are used, it should be deducted right away to avoid misunderstanding of charges.
Unauthorize deduction happens when a content provider sends a ringtone or any other services to a subscriber and the subscriber was charged without his/her knowledge. Or an opt-in message was sent and the subscriber accidentally accepted the opt-in.
The solution is simple – prohibit the sending of opt-in messages or messages that invites users to avail of services. Content providers and the telecommunication companies are making a big profit out of this extra services, so why not pay for advertisement? Promote your services via print, television, radio and other media available outside of text messaging. If we probihit the sending of opt-in and ad messages, then we solve the accidental acceptance of the subscriber and no unauthorize charging will happen.
Let us now go to the expiration of mobile credits. According to a comment I got from my CNET Asia blog, Thailand do it this way, which I think can be adopted here in the Philippines. If lets say I bought a P100 pesos load and after the expiration date, I was only able to use only P60 pesos, so that means I still have P40 pesos left. If I didn’t load up, then I won’t be able to use the P40 pesos unused credit. But if in case I bought a new load regardless of the amount (or even a minimum amount of credits), my previous unused P40 pesos should be added to my new load. A win-win solution don’t you think?
I always maintain that mobile credits should not have an expiration date. I bought it already so its mine and nobody should tell me how I should use it and how fast should I use it. But since telecommunication companies are so business-oriented, at least give the consumer a chance to use their unused mobile credits.
Remember this, if telecommunication companies or their content providers would charge or would take away .50 cents from their subscribers, given the millions of subscribers that we have, it will still amount to millions, even if you cut the number of subscribers into half.
But for the less fortunate Juan Dela Cruz, who would skip their meals just to be able to buy their mobile credits, their P1 peso or .50 cents is tantamount to millions. Their unused credits are very important to them, the unauthorize deductions means a lot to them as well.
Let me tell you a short story, a regular employee came up to me and told me that he just bought 30 pesos load. He was able to send 5 messages from the time he bought it. The next day, much to the surprise of the employee, his entire P 30 pesos load was gone. How do we explain it to this employee that because of a crazy expiration rule or crazy delayed billing system, his hard earned P30 pesos was taken away? You tell me!
God Bless us all!