Final guidelines for 3rd telco out

MANILA -- The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) released on Friday the final guidelines in the selection of the country`s third major telecommunications player.

The new major player in the local telecommunications industry is expected to be selected by December. DICT and NTC signed Memorandum Circular No. 09-09-2018 on Thursday after addressing legal, financial and technical issues.

In a statement, the DICT said the third telco player will be determined based on its financial and technical capability to deliver communications services through a public bidding.

“Drastically improved through multiple public consultations and by consulting various agencies, the MC (memorandum circular) that uses the Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS) approach will be the basis in determining the NMP (new major player),” the department said.

"The NMP is expected to be identified in December 2018,” it added.

Under the memorandum, bidders must not be a related party to any dominant telco player.

Participants must also have experience in the delivery and operations of telco services for the past 10 years on a nationwide scale.

The following criteria will be used to determine the new telco player: 40 percent for national population coverage; 35 percent for capital and operational expenditure; and 25 percent for minimum average broadband speed.

The participant’s points shall be computed annually over a five-year commitment period.

The memorandum was signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles, and was noted by DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. as chairman of the Oversight Committee.

The directive will be effective 15 days after its publication. Interested parties can then get bidding documents from the NTC and will be given until Nov. 5 to submit their bid.

President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier said that the new major telco player must be known by December. Among the companies that have expressed interest to join the bidding are the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co., Now Corp., Converge ICT Solutions, TransPacific Broadband Group International Inc. and Easy Call Communications Philippines. Some of the foreign investors expressing interest in the project include China Telecom, Surya Telecom of India, LG Uplus Corp. of South Korea, KDDI Corp. of Japan and Viettel Group of Vietnam.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said the final guidelines will promote competition with the existing duopoly in providing quality communication services.

“The release of the final TOR (terms of reference) in the search for the 3rd player in the telecom sector brings us closer to the goal of having a choice beyond the existing duopoly. We welcome the inclusion of PCC’s inputs as we share the goal of having a competitive landscape in this important sector,” according to PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan. (PNA)