Monday, July 23, 2018
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Bidding for 3rd telco slot in Sept

Draft rules on selection criteria seen out next week

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is poised to issue next week a new set of draft rules outlining the selection criteria for a new major telco player—a campaign promise of President Duterte.

Eliseo Rio Jr., acting secretary of the DICT, said the oversight committee he heads would meet on May 23 and likely approve the terms of reference for the selection of a so-called third telco player to break the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom duopoly.

The terms will serve as the basis that the government will use in awarding a set of coveted 3G, 4G and potential 5G radio frequencies that the winning company will use to launch mobile services such as calls, text messaging and internet browsing.

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“What we plan to approve is a draft, so stakeholders can see it,” Rio told the Inquirer in an interview. He said a public forum would be scheduled soon after to discuss the rules.

Rio explained that he expected the final terms to become effective around late June or early July 2018 when considering the mandated publication periods.

The actual bidding process can be launched after this. Rio said bidders would be given two months to prepare their offers, implying an awarding of the frequencies by September 2018.

So far, interested players included local companies such as Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co., Now Corp., Converge ICT Solutions Inc., Easycall Communications Philippines and the group of businessman Dennis Uy, Rio said.

Previous reports showed that interested foreign telcos included China Telecom, South Korea’s LG Uplus Corp., Japan’s KDDI and Vietnam’s Viettel.

Rio said he expected more players to join the race once the terms have been finalized.

“I think they’re keeping their cards close to the chest. They don’t want competitors to know,” Rio said.

Based on previously released guidelines, the DICT said a company vying for the third telco slot must hold a congressional franchise that is not a related party to any dominant telco player. Moreover, it should have no outstanding liabilities to the National Telecommunications Commission as of Jan. 31, 2018.

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It added that the interested company must have a paid-in capital of at least P10 billion and experience in operating telco services “for the last five years.”

In the selection criteria, the DICT included “highest committed level of service” apart from the committed investment over a five-year period.

To ensure it is financially capable, the winning bidder must also “show” at least 20 percent of its committed investment for a given year. Rio said the amount would be deposited in state-run Land Bank of the Philippines.

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TAGS: Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Eliseo Rio Jr., Globe telecom, PLDT Inc., President Duterte, telco
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