Having abandoned its plan to hasten the arrival of a new third telecoms player to take on the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom by March 2018 – a campaign pledge of President Duterte – the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) says it is readying new draft rules outlining the selection criteria for the new entrant ahead of the possible award of frequencies by September. The Philippine Daily Inquirer cites Eliseo Rio Jr, acting secretary of the DICT, as saying that the oversight committee he heads is set to meet on 23 May and aims to approve the terms of reference for the selection of a third operator. It is understood the selection criteria will be used as the basis for the government’s decision to allocate 3G, 4G and potentially 5G-suitable radio frequencies to allow the newcomer to launch. ‘What we plan to approve is a draft, so stakeholders can see it,’ Rio told the Inquirer in an interview, adding that a public forum would be scheduled ‘soon’ after to discuss the rules.
The DICT is currently confident that the final terms of the rules for selection will be put in place in late June or early July 2018, following which the actual bidding process will be launched. This, says Rio, would give interested parties roughly two months to prepare their bids – implying that the award of frequencies will take place by September 2018. Furthermore, according to Rio the companies interested in participating include Filipino firms Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co (PT&T), NOW Telecom, Converge ICT Solutions, Easycall Communications Philippines and a group led by the businessman Dennis Uy. In addition, the foreign telcos that have previously shown interest are China Telecom, South Korea’s LG Uplus, KDDI of Japan and Vietnam’s Viettel Group.