Filipino fixed and mobile operator Globe Telecom yesterday submitted a request to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), asking it to prevent the proposed takeover of Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel) by dominant PSTN operator Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). Moreover, Globe is requesting that the authorities also sanction PLDT. In a letter to the NTC Globe’s lawyer Rodolfo Salalima argues that the proposed deal would effectively contravene the country’s Telecommunications Policy Act, which was set up to liberalise the market and remove a monopoly situation in the industry. Specifically, Salalima said: ‘With so much clout, significant market power and influence now consolidated and vested in the PLDT Group, free competition is threatened and ultimately the public good is gravely placed at risk.’ He went on to say that the regulator must carry out its responsibilities to ensure a level playing field ‘in the name of free competition’ or risk a return to the monopoly days of old. If given the go ahead, the PLDT-Digitel merger would create an enlarged entity with around 70% of the mobile market, he said.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of last month PLDT, the Philippines’ largest telco by subscribers and revenues, agreed to buy a 51.55% equity stake in number three operator Digitel in a PHP74.14 billion (USD1.70 billion) cash and share swap. In the wake of the agreement President Benigno Aquino called for a review of the proposed takeover amid antimonopoly concerns in the country.