The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has published its bidding rules for the Philippines’ final 3G operating licence despite protests from Lopez-controlled Bayan Telecommunications Inc (BayanTel). In a memo, the regulator is calling on interested parties to submit applications on their eligibility to be awarded the spectrum frequencies on offer. ‘The remaining allocated 3G frequency band shall be granted to the best qualified [applicant] who will use it efficiently and effectively to meet public demand for telecommunication services, ensure universal coverage and foster a healthy competitive environment,’ the NTC said. Further, the watchdog’s bidding criterion will assess the applicant’s track record, network deployment plans and financial position. The NTC is setting a minimum annual user fee of PHP65 million (USD1.43 million), with the winning bidder also expected to pay up a performance bond equal to 30% of the network rollout cost in years one and two, but ‘not below PHP1 billion’ for five years, or upon completion of the rollout process. No firm deadline for applications was given although successful 3G licence holders are expected to start deploying their UMTS networks within one year of the award date.