12 Sep 2011
The Philippines’ regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has extended Bayan Telecommunications Inc‘s (Bayan’s) permit to operate cellular mobile telephone system (CMTS) services in the country until November 2013, BusinessMirror reports. However, the watchdog also issued a warning that Bayan must continue to build out its mobile infrastructure over the next two years or face ‘stiff’ sanctions. In its four-page order the NTC said: ‘In order to allow Bayan to continue building up its CMTS nationwide, it is recommended that its PA [provisional authority] be extended until 3 November 2013 … subject further to the condition that should [Bayan] fail to continue building up its CMTS network within two years from date thereof, the PA shall be deemed cancelled or revoked.’ The operator was originally granted its permit on 3 May 2000 and has subsequently had its rights extended up to 5 November 2005 and then to 3 November 2010.
However, eleven years have passed since Bayan received its CMT licence, but the operator has yet to launch a full service – after it was placed under corporate rehabilitation. ‘Bayan has no mobile service but it is offering wireless in the local loop (WiLL) in lieu of CMTS,’ said NTC director Edgardo Cabarios. ‘When Bayan was authorised in 2000, [rival operator] Extelcom questioned the authority before the Court of Appeals. During this time, Digitel was authorised to operate a CMTS network and started offering cellular service. Bayan could not offer anything because of a court case,’ explained the NTC official.
On 28 July 2011 Bayan informed the NTC that it had begun work on installing cell sites for its CMTS services. To date it claims to have deployed a total of 428 cell sites across the country and says it has signed up 178,552 subscribers for the WiLL service. The operator’s latest strategy report to the NTC highlights its desire to use the frequencies for a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. To that end Byan claims to be working on a ‘proof of concept’ with several vendors for LTE utilising its allocated frequencies in the 1800MHz band.