Supreme Court denies AZ 3G licence petition

8 May 2012

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has turned down an application from would-be 3G mobile operator AZ Communications Network, seeking to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision (which had itself upheld the regulator’s previous ruling in 2005), to deny its bid for a mobile licence. The BusinessMirror newspaper writes that in a one-page filing issued by the third division of the high tribunal, the Supreme Court ruled that the Court of Appeals was correct in upholding the orders of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) denying AZ’s application for the issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN). ‘The Court hereby resolves to deny the petition … as [AZ] did not meet the qualifications established in NTC memorandum circular No. 07-08-2005,’ a court official said. The order was dated 23 March, but was only received by the NTC on 25 April, the paper added. The Court of Appeal dismissed AZ’s application in May 2011, seeking to overturn two of the NTC’s decisions: one, denying AZ’s application for a 3G licence and the other, denying the motion for reconsideration filed by AZ. In its ruling, the Court adjudged that AZ’s petition was merely a rehash of a previous one that had been dismissed by the Court. In brief, AZ’s bid was thrown out after it failed to meet the minimum requirement for 70:30 debt-to-equity ratio set for existing carriers. It failed to convince the authorities of its ‘new operator’ status, which would instead have qualified it under Section 3.3(b) of MC No. 07-08-2005 and not Section 3.3 ©. AZ claims that had it been evaluated under Section 3.3 (b) as a new entrant, it would have qualified as a 3G licensee.