Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel), the joint venture of China Telecom, Davao tycoon Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp, has submitted an advance copy of its official network rollout plan to the Senate, even as its hierarchy continues to insist that it did not violate any rules in its bid to become the nation’s third telco. Mislatel, which is currently undergoing a post-qualification process to become the New Major Player (NMP), believes its deployment schedule is both ambitious and designed to protect national security. The newcomer plans to install some 10,000 cell sites across the country in the next seven years, and previously Mislatel spokesperson Adel Tamano has said: ‘We already have quite a number of memorandums of agreement and understanding with our partners who will help us in our role … We admit that we cannot do this without help from our partners, including the LGUs [local government units] and national government; with the proper policies, we can be able to have a good rollout and the benefit would be faster, better and cheaper internet and telecom services.’
Meanwhile, Dennis Uy, CEO and president of Udenna Corp, has now said: ‘Humility aside, we don’t want to be just the third telco, we want to be the best telco – a telco that is fast, affordable, and, most importantly, secure’. He then went on to detail the near year-long process undertaken to secure the NMP slot and claimed to have ‘fully complied with the Philippine Stock Exchange’s stringent standards on public disclosure’ along the way.
Nevertheless, the rumours of Mislatel’s preferential treatment refuse to go away and at the Senate hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV quizzed Uy on his ties with President Rodrigo Duterte and the executive. Under questions, Uy reportedly admitted to contributing PHP30 million (USD568,000) to Duterte’s presidential campaign in 2016 and that before Mislatel secured the third telco rights, the businessman flew Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr on his private jet. Both Medialdea and Esperon are members of the oversight committee on the third telco selection. The senator also questioned Uy’s qualifications to run a telecommunications firm and raised concerns over the validity of Mislatel’s franchise.