Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) says it will return a block of wireless frequencies belonging to its subsidiary Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprise (CURE, trading as Red Mobile) next month, adding that it is taking steps to migrate subscribers to sister firm Smart Communications as part of the terms agreed with the regulator. A spokesperson for PLDT says that Smart is conducting a survey of Red Mobile subscribers affected by the divestment of 10MHz of 3G spectrum, and identifying assets to be turned over to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Enrico L Espanol, legal and regulatory department head at PLDT, said in April this year: ‘The objective of this is to enable us to offer migration plans that are affordable and still address the various telecommunications requirements of the affected CURE subscribers.’
At the time, the NTC asked PLDT to update it on its ongoing divestment of radio frequencies held by CURE and confirm that it would return them by July 2012. PLDT was given three months to complete the phased migration of Red Mobile customers to Smart Communications’ network, after which it must relinquish CURE’s 3G frequencies as part of the terms and conditions of PLDT’s takeover of fellow Filipino operator Digital Telecommunication Philippines Inc (Digitel) in October 2011. Once the frequencies are returned, the regulator intends to launch an auction to sell them off again. PLDT and its subsidiaries are prohibited from participating in the bidding process, although interest is expected from Globe Telecom, San Miguel Group and Bell Telecommunications Inc (BellTel) along with other telecom players such as Bayan Telecommunications and Multi-Media Telephony Inc.