Koko hits DICT over delayed TOR for 3rd telco’s entry
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Tuesday scored the delay in the crafting of the terms of reference for the entry of the third telecommunications player in the country, saying this creates a bad image of the business environment and deprives consumers of an alternative.
Pimentel, who chairs the Senate’s Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship Committee, lamented that the delay comes amid the government’s efforts to attract investors to the Philippines, which include the signing of the Ease of Doing Business law.
He called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the members of the oversight committee for the entry of a new telecommunications player to “get their act together.”
”What kind of message does it send to the business sector when the government agencies involved in an urgent initiative such as this cannot get on the same page? Our country is like a restaurant that has a sign that says it is open for business, but the chefs have yet to decide on what to serve,” he said in a statement.
He said he understood that members of the oversight committee may have different views on the issues involved in crafting the terms of reference, but the DICT must work more promptly to reconcile the disagreements.
“Two months to finalize a TOR is too long. The Oversight Committee should get things moving because the sooner a third telco player comes in, the better it will be for the consumer,” he said.
Pimentel said it was “extremely disappointing” that the oversight committee has yet to finalize the terms of reference given the pressing need for a new player to break the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecommunications in the market.
The entry of a new player has been much anticipated because it would increase competition and improve telecommunications services for millions of Filipinos, he noted.
“Go on social media or talk to the man on the street; the complaints are the same, regardless of the telco provider: weak signal, disappearing loads, and slow data speeds. Consumers are being held captive by the absence of alternatives,” he said.
DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. earlier said he was disappointed that the terms of reference were not approved during the oversight committee’s meeting on Friday.
The terms of reference would prescribe how the government would award a set of frequencies to be used by the new telecommunications player for mobile services.
President Duterte earlier announced his desire to break up the PLDT-Globe duopoly and asked China to be the third player in the country.
Mr. Duterte had set a March 2018 deadline for the player’s entry, but it has come and gone.
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