Court of Appeals halts NTC examination of Globe, Bayan merger

13 Oct 2014

The Philippines Court of Appeals has halted the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC’s) examination of Globe Telecom’s takeover of Bayan Telecommunications, following the receipt of a new motion filed by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). The latter has argued that the long-running takeover violates Republic Act No. 7925 – or An Act to Promote and Govern the Development of Philippine Telecommunications and the Delivery of Public Telecommunications Services – noting that Globe’s spectrum holdings would increase dramatically if the merger were to be approved. According to ABS-CBNnews, Bayantel is in possession of 50MHz of 4G-suitable frequencies, which would boost Globe’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) spectrum stash to 95MHz unless the frequencies were distributed via a competitive bidding process. Despite holding 4G-suitable spectrum via its Smart Communications and Sun Cellular units, PLDT claims that it owns just 35MHz of bandwidth.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2013 Globe submitted a request to the NTC, seeking approval for its plan to take control of Bayan. The first phase of conversion was completed in October 2013, after Bayan issued common shares equivalent to 39% of the company to Globe and its senior creditors. However, the watchdog has dragged its heels after pressure from a number of key Filipino players, including PLDT and NOW Telecom (formerly Next Mobile).