Alliances possible for third telco bid

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There are 10 prospective telco players looking to convince government to award them the third telecommunications slot. Concept News Central

A consumer advocate on Friday revealed the applicant bidders for the country’s third telecommunications slot were to group under alliances ahead of the selection of the challenger to PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom next week.

Pierre Galla, co-founder of Democracy.net.ph, said while there are already 10 companies that purchased documents for the right to bid for the third telco slot and a “provisional” player that could be announced as early 7 November, claimed the various alliances will be formed to challenge telco giants PLDT and Globe Telecom.

“We don’t think these 10 will be submitting on their own. Alliances will still be formed,” said Galla.

He ruled out the likelihood that the method to be used to select the third telco player known as HCLOS, or highest committed level of service, will be politicized.

Those who purchased bid documents include China Telecom, Norway’s Telenor, Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp and a consortium that includes former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.

“It shows a great deal of interest to become the third major telco player,” Galla said, referring to the number of potential bidders.

“There’s a lot of potential for growth. There is a lot of opportunity for expansion,” he said of the outlook of the telecommunications business in the country.

Earlier, a 10th company — AMA Telecommunications, a company owned by former congressman Felizardo Colambo — paid the P1 million ($19,000) fee for bidding documents from which the selection process naming the Philippines’ third major telco will be based.

AMA has a Congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain telecommunications systems nationwide.

Other interested parties include China Telecom, Norway’s Telenor and the revived former telecoms operator PT&T.

Meanwhile, regulator National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) recently confirmed that local ICT player Converge ICT Solutions is one of the companies that purchased bid documents, despite an earlier suggestion that Converge ICT may not take part in the process in favor of expanding its fiber internet business.

The regulator previously expressed hopes of finally naming the company that will be given a nationwide telecommunications license to compete with incumbents Globe Telecom and PLDT by as early as this month.

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