Philippine third telco entry faces yet more delay

30 May 2018

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the prospects for the country’s third telecoms player – a key pledge of President Duterte to address the Philippines’ poor record on delivering telecoms services – faded even further this week amid a further delay. Eliseo Rio Jr, acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), confirmed via text that the draft rules to select the third telco have yet to be approved by the government-led oversight committee appointed in April 2018. The terms and conditions on how the government will provide 3G, 4G and potentially 5G mobile frequencies to the so-called ‘third telco’ were expected to be approved on Monday 28 May. However, that failed to happen – marking yet another delay in the would-be operator’s gestation process – and Rio declined to provide any details on the nature of the latest setback or indeed set a new deadline, sparking frustration among prospective auction participants. Mel Velarde, CEO of NOW Corp (NOW Telecom), for example, said his company would look to ‘assert its rights’ over mobile frequencies that should have been awarded years ago. ‘We will no longer allow ourselves to wait any longer. We demand our 2G, 3G and 4G frequencies,’ the CEO is quoted as saying via Facebook. ‘We will exhaust all legal and moral means to accomplish these goals for our public owners,’ he added.