PCC seeks ‘role’ in approving body for frequency reallocation

By Kris Crismundo

January 27, 2022, 5:15 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has proposed for the amendments of rules in the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) so that it can become a member of the approving body for frequency reassignment.
PCC made the statement following the reallocation of frequencies utilized before by broadcasting company ABS-CBN to Advanced Media Broadcasting System (AMBS), Aliw Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and Swara Sug Media Corporation (SSMC).
“The PCC recommends amending the rules to include it as (the) approving body in the assignment of vacated or available frequencies. This is a practice done by many jurisdictions across the world, in consideration of the impact on competition of players over scarce public goods like frequencies,” the antitrust body said.
The approving body for frequency reallocation cited in the NTC rule, which was there even before the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) was passed in 2015, includes the NTC itself, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Justice, and the Malacañang Palace.
PCC clarified that the reassignment of frequencies is not covered by the merger review provisions under the PCA, “and thus need not be notified to the PCC”.
“In the case of AMBS, this limits PCC’s purview until details of AMBS’ acquisition by the Villar Group, including its relation to Streamtech Systems Technologies Inc., are made public,” it added.
The PCC also expressed its support for the passage of the Open Access in Data Transmission Act that will pave the way for more transparent and fair management of spectrum, which is a scarce public asset.
“The overarching principle followed by the PCC is to foster a level playing field among new or existing players. The PCC invites the public’s attention to check on the quality and price options available to the viewing public during the tenancy of AMBS, ABC, and SSMC as provisional authority-holders of frequencies previously managed by ABS-CBN,” it said. (PNA)