Eliseo M Rio, Jr., the acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), has said that as part of efforts to ensure the optimal use of precious radio frequency spectrum the government may look to redistribute frequencies to a fourth, or even a fifth, telecoms operator. Rio confirmed that currently, around 68% of allocated spectrum belongs to PLDT’s Smart Communications (including Sun Cellular) or Globe Telecom, with the rest designated for the country’s anointed New Major Player (NMP) – the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) consortium. However, any firms found to be using their allocations ‘inefficiently’ face the threat of revocation so that they can be redistributed to alternative operators.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2018 the DICT revealed plans to publish a new policy document by Q1 2019 allowing it to take back and redistribute mobile spectrum frequencies currently allocated to the country’s incumbent operators. At the time the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) also said that the regulatory reforms are necessary to ensure that the NMP is able to compete against the de facto duopoly – PLDT and Globe Telecom.