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PT&T puts up a fight over 3rd telco decision

/ 05:18 AM November 09, 2018

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) is continuing its battle to have the National Telecommunications Commission recognize its bid to become the country’s third telco operator.

PT&T announced yesterday it would be filing an appeal on the NTC’s decision to disqualify its bid on Nov. 7, 2018.

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The decision to pursue an appeal even after the NTC named the consortium of Udenna Corp. and China Telecom as provisional winner on Wednesday implied that PT&T submitted a superior offer.

“We will now proceed with our motion for reconsideration,” Renato Garcia, PT&T executive vice president, said in an interview yesterday.

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PT&T also withdrew yesterday its petition to the Makati Regional Trail Court to favorably interpret what it means to be a telco operator with national scale. Garcia explained that the withdrawal of the Makati court case was in compliance with the NTC’s procedures.

“It has to be one or the other,” Garcia said.

PT&T was disqualified by the NTC on grounds that it had failed to meet the technical requirement that a a qualified bidder must have at least 10 years of experience operating a telco service on a national scale.

PT&T, which has been in the industry for over half a century, said the NTC had so far withheld the required certificate.

Garcia declined to comment on the contents of PT&T’s bid, which remained unopened. However, a source with knowledge of the matter said PT&T had outbid Udenna-China Telecom by a large margin.

In its bid, Udenna-China Telecom promised a minimum average internet speed of 27 megabits per second on its first year. This compares to the Philippines’ current mobile speed of 6.03 Mbps as measured by OpenSignal last September. Udenna-China Telecom said its internet speed will rise to 55 Mbps for the remainder of the five year commitment period.

The consortium also committed to spend P258 billion and bring coverage to 84 percent of the population in five years. Based on the NTC’s scoring system, Udenna-China Telecom scored over 456 points out of a total of 500 points. The scoring system was based on the group that could offer the best internet speed, population coverage and highest committed investment.

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In the meantime, the country’s chief economist said the entry of the third telco would boost investments and capital flows into the country by next year.

While noting that the award to the Udenna-China Telecom consortium was still tentative, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority chief Ernesto M. Pernia said a new player in the telecom sector, currently dominated by the Globe-Smart duopoly, would benefit the economy.

“There will be more spending. Spending, of course, of capital,” Pernia said in an interview.

The Palace, for its part, welcomed the entry of a third major telecom player, stressing that it was President Duterte’s strong political will that paved the way for it.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Filipinos had long waited for a reliable, efficient and inexpensive service in the industry dominated by Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc.

House deputy minority leader and Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. also welcomed the government’s provisional selection of a third telco that was expected to help boost the country’s mobile internet service.

“We are counting on the newcomer to compete brutally with the nation’s two dominant players in delivering faster mobile internet connection at a lower price,” Campos said in a statement.—WITH REPORTS FROM BEN O. DE VERA, JEROME ANING AND JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: 3rd telco, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T)
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