Philippines to deregulate commercial VoIP services

The move by the National Telecommunications Committee is aimed at creating a more competitive market as service providers can now offer such services without the need of further registration.

The Philippines' National Telecommunications Committee (NTC) has deregulated voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, defining it as a "value-added service" instead.

From now, value-added services providers such as Internet service providers, can offer VoIP without the need for further registration. Before the change, VoIP was considered a voice service which only telecommunications operators with a congressional franchise, could provide.

The move, announced in a memorandum circular issued last week, is aimed at promoting competition and improving the quality of services provided. NTC believes that regulation of VoIP will stifle "innovation and competition", while "minimal regulation" will encourage the development of new products and services that could put the nation's ICT market in the global spotlight.

The Philippines is not the first country in the region to tweak its VoIP regulations in order to ride on its growing user base. Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority had recently announced its plans to issue new licenses and new 8-digit numbers to VoIP operators.