Anti ‘red tape’ agency orders NTC to issue frequencies to NOW Telecom

4 Mar 2021

The Philippines’ new Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has reportedly instructed the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to assign frequencies to NOW Telecom so that it can operate cellular mobile telephony services (CMTS) in the country. Under an order dated 1 March, ARTA has apparently called for the ‘automatic approval for the assignment by the NTC of certain frequencies which NOW Telecom needs as a CMTS licensee’. Local press reports point out that the agency says that the regulator has failed to approve or deny NOW Telecom’s application since January 2006 despite the applicant having provided all necessary documents and fees. ‘Thus, under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 11302 or the ‘Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018’ the said application or request for assignment of concomitant frequencies for the exercise of NOW Telecom’s CMTS [application] as attested to in NOW Telecom’s Affidavit of Completeness is hereby DECLARED COMPLETE, and is now deemed AUTOMATICALLY APPROVED by operation of law,’ ARTA’s order read.

For its part, NOW Telecom pointed out that ARTA’s order automatically approves its application for a provisional authority to operate using a certain frequency range. ‘As a result of ARTA’s order of automatic approval, NOW Telecom is assigned 220MHz radio frequencies, including 5G frequencies, for mobile and fixed-wireless by operation of law,’ it said.