PCC to meet DICT next week on opening telco to more players
Officials of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology will meet next week to start working on how to go about opening up the telecom industry to one or two more players.
The meeting will take place after the DICT on January 8 released the guidelines detailing the criteria and requirements for picking a new player in the telecom sector that would shatter the duopoly in the industry. Among the major requirements include having the biggest amount of investments committed for the first five years.
“With respect to the spectrum, what it mentioned simply is that whatever is currently available will go to the third player,” PCC Commissioner Stella Quimo said. “Based on our assessment, only 12.8 percent” is available for the new player.
The meeting is expected to result in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the PCC and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Quimbo said.
For his part, Commissioner Johannes Benjamin Bernabe said a fourth player is also possible for the telco industry.
“Even the government has indicated through the DICT that the third telco player may not be the end of the game and there might be a space for a fourth telco player,” Bernabe said.
All these details, including the assignment of frequencies, will be sorted out among the PCC, DICT and NTC.
President Duterte has pledged to break the duopoly in the telco sector by allowing the entry of a foreign player in the industry, helping bring down costs and boost the quality of internet services, particularly its speed. Consumers have been complaining about the slow internet speed in the country.
Some of Asia’s telco firms such as China Telecom and KDDI Corp of Japan are reportedly interested in entering the Philippine market.
The two PCC officials denied earlier reports naming China Telecom as the third telco player.
“I just saw the DICT guidelines, there is no mention of China Telecom,” Quimbo said. “It’s silent.”