71. Globe Telecom vs. NTC, G.R. No. 143964, July 26, 2004.pdf

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SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 143964. July 26, 2004.] GLOBE TELECOM, INC. GLOBE TELECOM, INC., petitioner , vs vs . THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, COMMISSIONER JOSEPH A. TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, COMMISSIONER JOSEPH A. SANTIAGO, DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS AURELIO M. UMALI and SANTIAGO, DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS AURELIO M. UMALI and NESTOR DACANAY, and SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. NESTOR DACANAY, and SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC., respondents . D E C I S I O N D E C I S I O N TINGA TINGA, J p : Telecommunications services are affected by a high degree of public interest. 1 Telephone companies have historically been regulated as common carriers, 2 and indeed, the 1936 Public Service Act has classi6ed wire or wireless communications systems as a "public service," along with other common carriers. 3 Yet with the advent of rapid technological changes affecting the telecommunications industry, there has been a marked reevaluation of the traditional paradigm governing state regulation over telecommunications. For example, the United States Federal Communications Commission has chosen not to impose strict common regulations on incumbent cellular providers, choosing instead to let go of the reins and rely on market forces to govern pricing and service terms. 4 In the Philippines, a similar paradigm shift can be discerned with the passage of the Public Telecommunications Act of 1995 ("PTA"). As noted by one of the law's principal authors, Sen. John Osmeña, under prior laws, the government regulated the entry of pricing and operation of all public telecommunications entities. The new law proposed to dismantle gradually the barriers to entry, replace government control on price and income with market instruments, and shift the focus of government's intervention towards ensuring service standards and protection of customers. 5 Towards this goal, Article II, Section 8 of the PTA sets forth the regulatory logic, mandating that "a healthy competitive environment shall be fostered, one in which telecommunications carriers are free to make business decisions and to interact with one another in providing telecommunications services, with the end in view of encouraging their 6nancial viability while maintaining affordable rates." 6 The statute itself de6nes the role of the government to "promote a fair, eBcient and responsive market to stimulate growth and development of the telecommunications facilities and services." 7 The present petition dramatizes to a degree the clash of philosophies between traditional notions of regulation and the au corant trend to deregulation. Appropriately, it involves the most ubiquitous feature of the mobile phone, Short Messaging Service ("SMS") 8 or "text messaging," which has been transformed from a mere technological fad into a vital means of communication. And propitiously, the case allows the Court to evaluate the role of the National Telecommunications Commission ("NTC") in this day and age.

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