Bidding for 3rd telco may be held in October: DICT

By Aerol John Pateña

August 23, 2018, 8:00 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may conduct the bidding for the new major player in the telco industry as early as October this year.

This as the department is committed to comply with its target to select the third telco player by yearend.

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said some companies that have expressed to participate in the selection process have expressed their preference that the bidding must be held in October.

“Some of those who participated are asking for 6 months for the bidding to start. Others prefer that the bidding to start in October are the ones who did their homework before and they conducted their due diligence,” Rio said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of its public hearing on the draft terms of reference on the entry of the third telco player held Thursday in Quezon City.

"We will assess if there are enough participants and the quality of telcos that may qualify. If there is someone that has the capability to compete with Globe and Smart why not go ahead? Why do we have to delay just to wait for others that maybe offering also good services? Those that did their homework and expressed their interest first are more serious than those who came lately,” he said in a mixture of English and Tagalog.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set a timeline on the bidding process to start one to two months within publication of the final memorandum circular on the new major telco player.

Rio likewise said that the DICT will be adopting the inputs of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on the guidelines in order to hasten the selection process for the third telco player.

The PCC has proposed that the new major player should not be a related party to any dominant telcos in the industry.

The participant must return their assigned frequencies to the NTC in the event that it becomes a related party to PLDT and Globe.

Furthermore, a participant that fails to use any radio frequency spectrums assigned to it beyond the timeframe of their rollout plans shall return these to the government.

The DICT aims to select a telco firm that can deliver the highest quality of service at affordable costs to consumers to compete with the existing duopoly.

According to its guidelines, a bidder should have a paid-up capital of at least PHP10 billion and must have an experience in the delivery and operations of telco services for the last 10 years nationwide.

A participant must offer at least a coverage of at least 50 percent of the national population, average broadband speed of 5 megabits per second annual capital expenditure of PHP40 billion over a 5 year commitment period.

Among the companies that expressed to bid as a third telco player are Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co., Now Corporation, Converge ICT Solutions, TransPacific Broadband Group International Inc. and Easy Call Communications Philippines.

Some of the foreign investors that expressed interest are China Telecom, Surya Telecom of India, LG Uplus Corp. of South Korea, KDDI Corporation of Japan and Viettel Group of Vietnam. (PNA)