The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the Philippines has published its guidelines to accommodate the entry of a third major telecoms operator in the local market. Under the agency’s proposals, companies wishing to participate must: hold a valid congressional franchise; not be a subsidiary, affiliate, or have any corporate or financial interest with incumbent operators PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom as of 31 December 2017; and must have a written and binding commitment from a foreign venture company. Local press reports cite DICT Memorandum Order No. 1 (issued 8 January 2018 and signed by undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr), ‘the applicant with the highest committed investment for the first five years shall be selected’.
Going forward, the industry regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will circulate a Memorandum Circular outlining the main terms of reference for the selection of the third operator and assignment of radio frequencies on 19 February. Rio is also quoted as saying that along with China Telecom, KDDI Corp (Japan), LG Uplus (South Korea) and an as yet unnamed Taiwanese company have submitted expressions of interest in investing in the country, where they would need to partner with a local firm to become the third player. According to the DICT, the successful newcomer will need to invest up to PHP400 billion (USD7.95 billion) in its first five years to establish itself.