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Globe throws the book at illegal VoIP operator

INQ7.net reports that Globe Telecom has filed a complaint against a group operating an illegal VoIP relay service.

The service works by bypassing the existing (licensed) international gateway facilities and routing phone calls through the Internet by VoIP. While this is, IMHO, a cool idea, I do believe it is still illegal to operate such a service in the country.

The Singaporean nationals and their Filipino employees are now in custody of the Philippine National Police, facing criminal charges.

And so it starts. The telcos are flexing their muscles in an all-out war against VoIP. But how long wwill it take before VoIP finally becomes the communications vehicle of choice among Pinoys? I think it’s just a matter of time. After all, you can’t beat free (or cheap, for that matter).

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  • It’s not free VoIP. Based on the story, it apparently is the local node for those call cards you buy abroad – likely in Singapore. The call is routed to the Philippines via VoIP, then the call is placed through the “GSM equipment”.

    If you receive a call from abroad and the displayed number is a local prepaid SIM, then this is how it works.

  • > The call is routed to the Philippines via VoIP, then the call is placed through the “GSM equipment”.

    Given this scheme in plain vanilla, is this actually illegal?

    If I use skype to call my sister in Australia, put her on loud speakers and call my mom’s cellphone in Baguio so that Australia and Baguio can talk — is this illegal?

    Why, whence, whereforth, where art thou?

  • I believe that’s legal because you had to manually set it up. Of course, I Am Not A Lawyer.

  • Paging Atty. Punzi, then!

    I think what makes it illegal is that they’re profiting from this activity. If a company were to route VoIP calls to only within their office PABX (or maybe even to staff mobile phones), then I think this would be all right.

    (I do know of several firms here that do this.)

    At any rate, I may have had mixed things up here. Yes, they’re likely to be the companies that sell calling cards abroad and route the calls thru landline or local GSM telco.

    As for the telcos-against-VoIP matter, this is another concept altogether.

  • Yes, I think a lawyer could help clarify.

    I don’t think that the “making profit” aspect makes it illegal. Example, I have a private telephone and put a “5 pesos per 2 minutes” signage for a payphone — is this illegal?

    Question still remains: What makes VoIP patched to local telephone illegal? Or is it?

    btw, migs and i have a related discussion on Skype in the Philippines.

  • baluga01

    We still need a new telco services that could fit our money. 2 pesos vs their 7.5 pesos is a way of making big profits. And worst, we are victim of huge profit making.

  • What is 2 pesos versus 7.5 pesos? Well yes, they can bring down the price during “promos.” But then when one telco offers promos, other telcos cry foul (e.g. PLDT vs Globe in the unlimited cell-landline calling offer).

    Or, either the NTC doesn’t want to lower the regular price (as it is often accused of being pro-telco and not pro-consumer).

  • The appropriate term would be GSM Gateway.. for routing calls from VOIP to PSTN or Mobile (using Prepaid SIM Cards).

  • BTW what was the name of the company that got shutdown by the NTC or ISR Police?

  • The INQ7 article does not give the “group” a name. Any insider info?

  • So now they can sue for the dismissal of the case, like PLDT in the other case?

  • filmboy

    Like the RIAA on MP3s and the MPAA on bitorrent, the telcos are only delaying the inevitable in fighting VOIP. They have to embrace this or die…

  • Ren

    ISR set-up is simple. you need a broadband connection, a VoIP gateway and telephone line. Imagine the revenue coming in: for a $0.10 per minute arrangement, 8 hours per day, a FoRex of PhP 52 only, in a month you’ll have at least PHp 74,880. That’s per telephone line. What’s your operating cost?DSL is less than PhP1,000, monthly rental is about PhP 700, i’d heard a voip gateway can be bought in coastal mall for less that PhP 50,000. That’s about a profit of about PhP 23,000 in just the first month alone.

    why is it illegal? you’re not supposed to engage in voice service unless you have a congressional franchise (like the telcos) or NTC certification as a VoIP provider…that’s why.

  • If these guys had stayed up, they won’t be able to do VoIP ISR over Globe’s now-broken IP infrastructure. I wonder how much money those guys are losing now…

  • Paulo

    VoIP is like the RING of LORT!!! and those Big Compnies are Gollums who don’t want the ring to be free.. wackkk…

  • toto

    How can a Voip relay station be illegal?

    A paid telephone subscriber is only using the facilities of a Telephone service provider for local service. Calls are interpreted as local calls. They are paid monthly for telephone service. Their service ends there. Translation or conversion of signal beyond the local port is not the work provided by them. I think its beyond their scrope to embrace intellectual advancement for their benifit.

    tot

  • gloria

    It’s time for all of us who according to the past and incumbent president of the Philippines “our heroes” to make our voice loud and clear. Yes, “our heroes” the filipino domestic helpers who are working day and night in foreign lands remitting the dollars that the Philippine government and the so called “Telcos” in the Philippines “neeeeeeeeed” to make more profit. Please, Mdme. President and Politicians of my beloved country, do your job, break the monopoly of these Telcos, Maawa po kayo sa amin dito na nagbabayad ng napakamahal na tawag para lang makausap and aming mga mahal sa buhay. I hope that these people (politicians in general, and all the owners of businesses in the Philippines, who are relying on the dollar remittances that our heroes are sending in) could feel what we feel when we are force to leave our families back home in order to make a living. I hope that they still have a little compassion in their heart. Perhaps all of us who are working abroad should unite and voice out our feelings. We need to unite and send a petition direct to Malacanang to deregulate the telecommunication in the Philippines. Not only us, but the whole “masa ng pilipinas should unite”. Our families that are living in the Philippines should unite and organize with the support of all of us who are working here abroad. Anybody who are interested in doing this please post your reply.

    • Noel

      If you take the lead and form an organization, I will help you set up a non-profit organization, even act as your legal counsel so our voices could be heard. We can all make a diffence. Blogging is one thing, putting our words into action is the main thing. I have an email notification. So those interested, lets meet up.

      • Lord of VOIP

        I’m into it. As El toro said, we are called heroes because we send our hard earned dollar to the Philippines, and who are the ones benefiting this? The BIG TELCOS, especially Globe who is owned “partly” by a Singaporean natinals, “Singaporean?” Isn’t it they are the ones who killed Flor Contemplacion” our so called modern heroes? Hey People of the Philippines, WAKE UP, it is now time to let our voices heard by our politicians, if they won’t hear us, since “many of our politicians are actually benefiting from the big TELCO’s” Huwag na nating iboto yang mga matatanda ng mga politicins na nagpapayaman lang sa kanilang bulsa!!!!

  • Indeed, everyone has a point in here. People of other countries have already benefited to this so called VOIP, yet here we are still struggling and debating as to its legality. Good enough that our supreme court has ruled against one telecom who filed a case against a group VOIP operators. There are already so many establishments selling VOIP equipments in the Philippines, yet our arms are still tied up because of these man made hindrances.

  • Indeed, everyone has a point in here. People of other countries have already benefited to this so called VOIP, yet here we are still struggling and debating as to its legality. Good enough that our supreme court has ruled against one telecom who filed a case against a group of VOIP operators. There are already so many establishments selling VOIP equipments in the Philippines, yet our arms are still tied up because of these man made hindrances. Let’s help our OFWs, the so called modern heroes.