National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) deputy commissioner Carlo Jose Martinez is quoted as saying that new entrants may not qualify to take part in the upcoming auction of 3G frequencies recently returned by Filipino operator Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises Inc (CURE). Online journal Rappler cites Martinez as saying that the details of the tender will be finalised soon for the reallocation of CURE’s spectrum – the unit which was formerly owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) but had to be given up as a condition of the latter’s 2011 purchase of fellow Filipino telco Digital Telecommunications (Digitel). The NTC now intends to auction off the returned 10MHz of 3G spectrum, and companies such as Ayala-led Globe Telecom and San Miguel Corp’s telecoms units are thought to be interested in buying it.
Martinez says that the watchdog has ‘identified the main qualifications for the bidder’ but that it is still drafting the final terms and conditions. However, in a blow to would-be newcomers, he went on to say that: ‘A new entrant may not have a good background to speak of simply because it is new to the business. We don’t want to risk that and someday learn that this new entrant had sold the frequencies to someone else.’