Duterte signs bill extending Smart Communications’ franchise
President Duterte has signed into the law the bill extending the franchise of telecommunications giant Smart Communications, Inc. for another 25 years.
Republic Act 10926 once more allows Smart to establish, maintain, lease and operate integrated telecommunications, computer, and electronic services and stations throughout the Philippines.
Mr. Duterte signed it on April 21, 2017.
The franchise requires Smart to conform to the ethics of honest enterprise and not use its stations for indecent transmissions or deliberately false information. it is also required to improve and extend its services in areas not yet served and in hazard and typhoon prone areas.
Another section also states that it should provide mobile number portability to all its subscribers. It should interconnect directly or indirectly with the infrastructure, facilities, systems or equipment of other telecommunications franchise grantees.
Mobile number portability would allow subscribers to keep their numbers even if they switch network providers.
The new law also states that Smart should make a public offering through the stock exchange of the shares representing at least 30 percent of its authorized capital stock in any securities exchange in the Philippines within two years, unless it is wholly owned by a publicly listed company with at least 30 percent of whose authorized capital stock is publicly owned.
RA 10926 further requires Smart to comply with applicable labor standards under existing laws, rules and regulations, taking into consideration the nature and peculiarities of the telecommunications industry.
It imposes a P1 million fine per working day for failing to submit an annual report to Congress.
Recently, Mr. Duterte signed the law that extends the franchise of GMA Network for another 25 years.