February 24, 2018, 10:26 pm
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DICT sets bid terms

The company with the highest committed investment for the first five years would be selected as the country’s third telecom player, a memorandum circular (MC) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

Eliseo Rio, DICT officer-in-charge issued the guidelines on the entry of a new telecom player to enhance competition in the market.

Government eyes to have a third player by March.

DICT directed the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to strictly observe the policy guidelines in bidding out the mobile frequencies. 

The new telecom player should meet three minimum qualification requirements: should have a valid congressional telecommunication franchise; should neither be a subsidiary or affiliate of either Globe Telecoms Inc. and PLDT Inc. as of Dec. 31, 2017 and; should execute  a written and binding commitment from a foreign joint venture company, if applicable. 

“The applicant with the highest committed investment for the first five years shall be selected . This commitment should be secured with a performance bond, “  the MC said.

The new major player shall be assigned radio frequency bands that are now available for assignment as identified by the NTC. Non- compliance with its commitment shall result in the automatic recall of the assigned radio frequencies. 

The NTC in consultation with DICT shall promulgate not later than Feb. 19 , 2018 the MC  containing the terms of reference for the selection and the assignment of radio frequencies for the new major player in the Philippine telecommunications market. 

Malacanang announced last week that  apart from China Telecoms Inc., the Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T) and its Korean partner have signified interest to become a third major telecom provider . 

Interested foreign companies are required to partner with any of the local telecom firms to meet the 60-40 foreign ownership limit, Rio said. 

DICT earlier said any consortium keen on becoming a third player has to set aside an estimated investment of $2.7 billion to roll out telecom infrastructure nationwide to compete with the incumbent telcos which have been aggressive in expanding their mobile and fixed networks. 

So far, three local telecom companies including listed technology firm Now Corp., PT&T and Converge ICT Solutions are keen on bidding for the mobile frequencies .

The government will adopt a “beauty contest” bidding scheme where  it would base the qualification on the  financial capability of the companies to be given the frequencies. 

Rio said government would bundle up all the remaining frequencies and award it to the most qualified telecom company.

The DICT sounded off the possibility of the incumbents just buying the frequencies if these are split up.

The frequencies are enough to allow the third telecom player to compete with PLDT and Globe which now have a combined share of 70 percent of all the frequencies. (M. Iglesias)
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