Globe queries legality of NTC decision to bar it from 3G frequency auction

13 Mar 2009

Globe Telecom has queried the Filipino regulator’s plan to exclude ‘qualified’ 3G telecoms firms from participating in the auction of the fifth remaining 3G frequency spectrum. The cellco argues that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is unfairly favouring new market entrants by barring current 3G frequency holders from the spectrum assignment process. Globe’s head of regulatory affairs Froilan Castelo argues that the company cannot be lawfully disqualified, saying, ‘How can the best-qualified be disqualified?’ The regulator is offering frequency in the 1965MHz-1975MHz, 2155MHz-2165MHz or 1890MHz-1900MHz/1970MHz-1980MHz frequency bands. It wants to bar existing 3G frequency holders and their affiliates from applying for the last licence, but Globe counters that there are other ways of nurturing competition, other than adding new players to an already fiercely competitive market. Globe is urging the NTC to keep the remaining 3G radio frequencies ‘within grasp of companies which have truly proven their ability to make the best use of the scarce resource’. Globe said it has invested over USD250 million into 3G mobile and broadband technologies and services since 2006. As of October 2008, it had more than 1,800 3G cell sites in operation, extending its 3G footprint to 66 of the nation’s 79 provinces. Last year it made two separate requests to the NTC for additional spectrum. In March, it requested to be assigned the 825MHz-845MHz/870MHz-890MHz band to speed up the rollout of 3G services in rural areas. Then in May 2008 it applied for the 3G frequencies being set aside for the fifth licence in order to increase capacity for higher 3.5G HSDPA transmission rates.

Philippines, Globe Telecom (incl. Innove)