Xi Jinping taps China Telecom to help Duterte smash Smart-Globe duopoly: Search on for San Miguel-like local partner
China President Xi Jinping has tapped China Telecommunications Corp. to provide the funds and technology to fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte’s goal of creating a third player in the local telecommunications business controlled by PLDT-Smart of the Metro Pacific-Salim group and Globe Telecom of the Ayala-SingTel group.
In an interview with DZBB’s Fernan Gulapa, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar revealed that acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Ri told the Cabinet last week that the Chinese government has tapped China Telecom to establish a foothold in the country.
“”Minamadali na ito ng gobyerno natin sapagka’t habang tumatagal eh nabubuwisit ang mga kababayan natin sa mga dropped calls at mabagal na internet,” said Andanar.
Andanar said the move to create a third telecom player has shifted to searching a 60 percent local partner for China Telecom which was limited to a 40 percent ownership under the Constitution.
“Ang China Telecom ay ang pinakamalaking telecommunications company sa China. Marami kasi—maraming telecommunications company iyan eh. Ang problema lang kasi sa bansa natin is if you are a foreign investor, (you can’t go beyond percent). So siyempre kailangan maghanap ng partner,” said Andanar.
Andanar said the ideal local partner should not be a pushover as experts estimated that P30 billion would be needed to build a telecom infrastructure which would be a contender in the local market.
“Sa Pilipinas, eh iyong mga partner na hindi pipitsugin, talagang maraming pera, maraming pang—eh hahabulin mo iyong Globe at saka Smart eh. Baka bigyan ka ng infrastructure, hahabulin mo iyon. So kailangan mo nga iyong makikipag-partner doon sa hindi pipitsugin,” said Andanar.
Andanar said that the local partner should have a local franchsie to operate.
“Ano ba iyong may mga telecom franchise? Iyong mga TNT dati ‘di ba? Mayroon namang franchise na iyan eh,” said Andanar.
(We’re not sure if Andanar was referring to Talk ‘N Text, the entry-level mobile phone service of PLDT-Smart. If he was, this would defeat Dutertee’s goal of having a third, indepenent player.)
“Hindi ko na alam kung ano pa iyong ibang mga kumpanya pero marami iyan eh, iyong mga telecom franchise. So partner doon, partner doon sa mga Philippine owned multinational companies tulad ng mga San Miguel, mga ganoon, maraming pera iyang mga iyan eh,” said Andanar.
(Andanar was probably unaware that San Miguel had backed out of its bid to break the duopoly when its deal with Telstra Corp, of Australia fell through. It has sold its broadband spectrum to PLDT-Smart and Globe).