Oversight body's guidelines for 3rd telco out on Friday

By Aerol John Pateña

July 16, 2018, 9:33 pm

MANILA -- The terms of reference (TOR) governing the entry of that elusive third player in the local telecommunications industry is set to be known on Friday. This, after an inter-agency oversight committee finally concludes its deliberations on which of two proposed TORs will be applied.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it seeks to name the third telco by October, once the guidelines are approved.

“May timeline na po kami kapag na-aprubahan po (terms of reference) sa Friday by October mayroon na tayo (We already have a timeline if the terms of reference on Friday, we might be able to select the new telco player on October),” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said in a radio interview Monday.

Telco industry stakeholders have expressed their preference to the draft terms of reference (TOR) of the DICT, which uses the highest committed level of service (HCLoS) as criterion for the selection of a new major telco player, over the use of auction as a mode for the selection during a public consultation conducted by the department last July 6.

The DICT secretary reiterated his opposition to an auction mode as it will force a new player to put up a huge amount to qualify for the bidding process.

“You are forcing the third telco player to put money upfront that has nothing to do with the rollout of infrastructure and it has nothing to do with improving telecommunication services,” according to Rio.

The Department of Finance (DOF) is pushing for the auctioning of frequencies to select the third telco player.

Under the guidelines using the highest committed level of service (HCLos) formula, the new telco will be selected on the following criteria: 40 percent for national population coverage, 20 percent for minimum average broadband speed and 40 percent for annual capital and operating expenditure over a five year commitment period.

The guidelines using the auction mode stipulates that a bidder that will offer the highest annual capital and operating expenditure for a 5 year commitment period shall be selected as the new major telco player.

Under Administrative Order No. 11, President Rodrigo Duterte has created an oversight committee to assist the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in the formulation of the guidelines for the selection and assignment of radio frequencies for the entry of new telco player. The committee is composed of the DICT, NTC, DOF, Office of the Executive Secretary and the National Security Adviser. (PNA)