Property developers backtrack on internet exclusivity rules
Eight property developers—including some under the Ayala, Consunji and Villar business groups—are now letting their tenants choose different internet service providers, after their exclusivity practices were flagged by the country’s antitrust body.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said in a statement on Thursday that it issued advisory letters to several property developers that have been forcing their tenants to subscribe to an exclusive internet service even if the consumer wanted a different provider.
Eight developers have voluntarily complied with PCC’s enforcement advisory letters to date. Through the advisory letters, PCC said the companies are “given the chance to correct their actions and avoid the long process of prosecution.”
These developers included DMCI Homes Inc., the real estate arm of Consunji-led DMCI Holdings; Vista Residences Inc., one of the property companies under the Villar-led Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc.; as well as two companies under Ayala Land Inc., namely its affordable housing arm Amaia Land Corp. and its arm for the middle class segment Avida Land Corp.
The other developers are Urban Deca Homes of 8990 Holdings, Inc., which is in compliance again after 8990 Holdings was fined for similar anticompetitive behavior in 2019; Victoria Towers by New San Jose Builders Inc.; CHMI Land Inc.; and Kirkwood Development Corp.
As a long-term measure, PCC added that it is also working to issue this year a joint circular with various relevant housing and regulators for all property developers to prohibit exclusivity arrangements in internet, telecommunications and cable TV services.
When asked why the developers did not face any penalties unlike previous cases, PCC’s Competition Enforcement Office told the Inquirer that issuing the advisory letters provided a more immediate relief for consumers.
This practice had already been cited by PCC before. It is an example of what the Philippine Competition Act calls an “abuse of dominance.” Simply put, it is when a business with a strong hold on the market uses its resources to restrict competition.
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