Senate begins hearing on third telco player

Grace Poe

THE Senate Committee on Public Services is set to conduct explanatory hearing today on the status of the third major telecommunications service provider that is seen to break the duopoly in the sector.

Sen. Grace Poe said the Senate in the exercise of its oversight functions, needs to be apprised of the developments surrounding the much-awaited entry of the country’s next telco player in anticipation of the reported award next month.

The committee will play a major role in tackling the congressional franchise of the applicant, she added.

“We need to have meaningful competition in public utilities like telecommunications that will translate to lower costs and better service,” said Poe.

Reports said that the Philippines ranks near the bottom in internet speed globally and has one of the most expensive mobile and data rates.

Poe reiterated that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and other related government agencies are expected to brief senators on the issue during the public hearing.

DICT Acting Sec. Eliseo Rio, Jr. and NTC chair Gamaliel Cordoba are among the resource persons expected to provide a peek into the ongoing negotiations between the government and the private sector for the third telco.

Companies earlier named as interested parties included NOW Corp., Converge ICT Solutions, and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

Major telco players Globe and PLDT are also invited to the hearing.