PLDT dangles PHP5bn carrot to take part in 3G auction

21 Jan 2013

Ray Espinosa, the head of regulatory affairs Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), says the carrier will submit an official letter to the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), requesting that the industry regulator allow it to take part in the upcoming auction of the 3G spectrum it was forced to relinquish as a pre-condition of its takeover of Filipino operator Digital Telecommunications (Digitel). The Malaya Business Insight quotes Espinosa as saying that PLDT will request that it be allowed to submit a bid for the former Connectivity Unlimited Enterprise Resources (CURE) third-generation frequencies, dangling the enticement that it could offer at least PHP5 billion (USD121.9 million) for the licence – double the proposed reserve price set.

In July 2012 PLDT duly handed back CURE’s 3G licence, paving the way for another firm to bid for the 3G unit’s frequencies; as a pre-condition of the Digitel takeover, neither PLDT nor its affiliates are allowed to take part in the spectrum auction which has attracted interest from local players such as Globe Telecom and San Miguel Corp’s Liberty Telecoms Holdings. The condition is designed to prevent PLDT from creating a monopoly situation in the market – the merger of PLDT and Digitel enabled the enlarged group to have 35MHz of 3G frequency allocation versus Globe Telecom Inc’s 10MHz allocation. The regulator now has until end-January 2013 to reallocate CURE’s 3G frequencies via a competitive auction process.