NTC: Reallocation of SMC frequency ‘difficult’
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is likely to side with conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on the proposed reallocation of the latter’s 700 Megahertz frequency being sought anew by incumbent players amid the potential entry of a new telecommunications venture backed by the conglomerate.
Edgardo Cabarios, who heads the regulatory division of the NTC, told reporters yesterday that it would be “difficult” for the regulator to recall and reassign the frequency, which both Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom said would help them deliver better and faster Internet services to subscribers.
“How can you reassign when it has presently been assigned,” Cabarios asked at the sidelines of the turnover of radio frequent monitoring and direction finding equipment for Metro Manila yesterday.
He said there should also be a good reason to recall such as the non-use of the frequency or if the operator had been remiss in paying the required fees to the government.
He said SMC, through its units, has been paying the necessary fees, adding that the group has acquired permits to purchase equipment and was pursuing the “ongoing buildup of its network.” He did not elaborate.
“It could be difficult to recall [the frequency],” said Cabarios, adding that this was also a “quasi-judicial” process that could take “a long time.”
PLDT and Globe have recently ramped up a public campaign urging the government to recall and reassign the 700 Mhz frequency mainly controlled by SMC that is reported to be ideal in delivering high-speed Internet services more efficiently.
PLDT and Globe argued that they should be given their fair share of the spectrum since they catered to millions of subscribers each.
The move came just after Australia’s Telstra Corp. Ltd., which is in talks with SMC on a possible telco venture in the Philippines, made stinging remarks on the quality of Internet services here.
Specifically, SMC holds 90 Mhz out of the total 100 Mhz on the 700 Mhz band. The company’s Wi-Tribe and High Frequency Telecommunications control 80 Mhz and 10 Mhz, respectively, while New Century Telecommunications holds the other 10 Mhz.
Earlier this month, SMC president Ramon Ang told reporters that no deal with Telstra has been signed yet. However, he added that there was no need for the NTC to recall their 700 Mhz frequency, which the company intends to use to deliver high speed mobile Internet services.
“Between the two of them [PLDT and Globe], they have almost 300 megahertz of LTE frequencies. Why do they need more,” Ang said. “They have all the frequencies, all the technology. All they have to do is fine- tune what they have.”
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