Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has relinquished to the telecoms regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the 3G licence owned by its unit, Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises Inc (CURE, trading as Red Mobile). The move, which was a condition of its takeover of fellow Filipino operator Digital Telecommunications Inc (Digitel) from the Gokongwei group last year, paves the way for another firm to bid for the 3G unit’s frequencies; local players such as Globe Telecom and San Miguel Corp’s Liberty Telecoms Holdings are though to be interested in bidding.
PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno confirmed the news via an SMS message to reporters. ‘We have complied already with the NTC conditions with respect to the transition period in clearing CURE with all assets except for the franchise, 3G frequency and other related permits,’ he said.
The regulator now has until January 2013 to reallocate CURE’s 3G frequencies via a competitive auction process, with NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba on record as saying that the watchdog is already in the throes of drafting the terms and conditions for the tender, which will not ‘take long’. PLDT, which acquired CURE through its mobile arm Smart Communications from the Ongpin family in 2008, is barred from taking part in the auction.