Duterte wants telco duopoly broken by March

December 21, 2017 at 10:57

Duterte wants telco duopoly broken by March

By:  |  / 07:00 AM December 20, 2017
rodrigo duterte


Will the telco duopoly be broken by March?

That could happen because President Rodrigo Duterte wants a new telecommunications company substantially owned by China to start operating by first quarter next year, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque told reporters on Tuesday that the President directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and local governments to approve all of the new company’s applications and licenses within seven days upon the submission of complete requirements.

“The President has instructed [the] DICT and the National (Telecommunications) Commission to ensure that the third telecom provider will be up and about by the first quarter of 2018, the first three months of 2018,” Roque said. “That’s how serious the President is on the entry of a third telecoms player.”

He said if the applications and licenses were not issued within seven days, these would be deemed approved.

The President also warned courts not to “interfere and prolong” the process by issuing restraining orders or injunctions, Roque added.

Mr. Duterte earlier asked China to provide the third telco player in the Philippines to break up the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. duopoly, which had been blamed for the slow and spotty but expensive internet and mobile phone services across the archipelago.

Following the invitation, Beijing chose state-owned China Telecom Corp. Ltd. Foreign companies in the Philippines are limited to owning 40 percent of domestic telecommunication operations.

China Telecom would team up with a Philippine consortium, which would own 60 percent of the new company in compliance with constitutional restrictions on telco ownership, said Roque.

Roque earlier said that the invitation to China was a “political decision.” Besides, he said, China’s huge telco market had given Chinese companies the know-how in providing “competent and reliable” telecommunication services.

Among domestic companies, internet provider Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. has expressed interest in applying for a mobile telecommunications license. Last month it told Reuters news agency it was talking to China Telecom and Datang Telecom Technology Co. Ltd. about strategic partnerships.

Globe and PLDT have previously welcomed the possibility of new entrants.

DICT officer in charge Eliseo Rio Jr. said the third telco player would be operational by March.

“It would help a lot if a strong statement comes from the President that for the benefit of the people, he wants the third player to compete ASAP, and ordering (national government agencies) and (local government units) not to delay issuing permits to the new player, as well as to existing players, Globe and Smart,” Rio said in a statement.

Roque allayed security concerns over foreign involvement in telecommunications, saying current providers already have foreign shareholders. —With a report from the wires

Source: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/953753/duterte-wants-telco-duopoly-broken-by-march

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