DICT hints at ‘controversial’ spectrum refarming in 2018

1 Mar 2018

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is keen to undertake a ‘potentially controversial’ mobile frequency refarming exercise this year, that could have an adverse impact on the spectrum held by duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom. DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr, confirmed the intention to hopefully start work on the policy in 2018, but noted that nothing could happen quickly. We have to get the approval of the OP [Office of the President] for this,’ Rio said in a text message. ‘What is needed is just the authority, we have funds available for this.’

If DICT pursues the plan, Rio said that refarming could affect Globe and PLDT’s frequencies, without detailing which bands would be affected. One lawyer working with the incumbent telcos is quoted as saying that refarming could become ‘complicated’ if the bands in question are already in use. According to the Department’s records, PLDT holds about 30.32% of all available radio frequencies while Globe has 24.90%. The DICT official did clarify, however, that the refarming plan does not include the unassigned 3G, 4G and potential 5G radio frequencies that DICT hopes to award to a new major telco player by May or June this year.