DICT taps PCC to draft guidelines for 3rd telco player

By Kris Crismundo

March 7, 2018, 7:45 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) has tapped the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for the drafting of guidelines in selecting the third player in the local telecommunications industry.

In a media briefing Thursday, PCC Commissioner Johannes Benjamin Bernabe said the antitrust body was consulted for its inputs to ensure market's viability for further telco players, given the limited frequency.

Bernabe cited two key issues in the competitiveness of the telco industry, which include spectrum management and interconnection.

“There’s a number of issues we have to ensure are addressed to make sure a new telco player will be viable and capable of expanding its business operations in the long term,” he said.

“If there is further space for further telco players, how do you ensure that such further players would not be foreclosed from entering the market,” the Commissioner added.

In providing interconnection, Bernabe said it is important to ensure that the market has fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.

“The cost of infrastructure development is big when we talked about building network infrastructure for telecom services. How did you try to mitigate those costs? In other jurisdictions, they regard telecoms facilities or the network as an essential facility,” said Bernabe.

“In other jurisdictions, in order for you to provide that interconnection, when you allow them it has to be fair, you cannot charge exorbitant connection rates. It has to be reasonable and non-discriminatory,” he added.

The Commissioner also cited that another piece of legislation that will support a fair competition in the local telco industry is on mobile number portability issue, adding that the country’s mobile telephony is oversubscribed to about 110 percent of the population.

Mobile number portability will allow the mobile digit owner to carry the same number even if switching to new telco provider.

Bernabe said the Commission is set to meet the DICT in the next couple of weeks to provide its inputs in the formulation of guidelines. (PNA)