DICT eyes 3rd telco by September

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Barring unforeseen events, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) should name the country’s third telecommunications player by September after a decisive vote on Friday.

“If everything goes well, there are no major setbacks ahead, we can have the third telco by the end of September or early October,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said, insisting the selection committee will select a firm with the technical and financial capability to deliver high-quality communication services to the public.

“The third telco will come in a playing field where it has to compete with Globe and Smart. Globe and Smart (have) all the subscribers already once the third telco comes in. It has to attract (some of) the subscribers of Globe and Smart. Of course, Globe and Smart will also put up their own marketing strategies and they have to retain subscribers. This is the fight where the third telco will be coming into,” he added.

The selection process finally moved forward after months delay after the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) published the selection rules on June 27.
Inviting a third telco player to improve the country’s telecom services is one of the campaign promises of President Duterte. The President earlier set a March 2018 deadline for a new telecom player, but the deadline was not met, prompting the President to create an oversight committee to hasten the process.

On June 30, the DICT announced plans to auction off frequency spectrums under revised guidelines for the selection of the third major player in the local telecommunications industry.

Telco industry stakeholders at the public consultation conducted by the agency would rather that the draft terms of reference (ToR) of the DICT use the highest committed level of service (HCLoS) as criterion for selecting new major telco player instead an auction process.

In an informal survey conducted among 15 interested telcos, 75 percent prefer the HCLoS; 17 percent opt for the auction mode while eight percent abstained.

The DICT likewise cited a survey showing 96 percent prefer the use of the HCLoS as basis for the selection of the third telco while 4 percent prefer the auction method.