5 firms bid for third telco

October 09, 2018

Five companies have submitted bidding documents for the awarding of the new major player in the local telecommunications industry as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)  started the selection process on Monday.

Among the companies that expressed their interest to bid are a company headed by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson, which partnered with TierOne Communications Inc., Udenna Corporation of Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, Now Corporation of businessman Mel Velarde, Norwegian telecom operator Telenor and another firm, which refused to be identified.

The companies bought bidding documents worth PHP1 million at the office of the National Telecommunications Commission in Quezon City.

“May isa or dalawa ang inaasahan pa namin na sasali within this week ay magbabayad sila (We are expecting one or two companies that have expressed interest to buy bidding documents within this week)," DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

Participants must also post a PHP 700-million participation security to qualify in the bidding process to ensure that they have the capability to compete with existing players PLDT and Globe Telecom, Rio said.

Interested bidders may submit their bidding documents until November 7. The bidding for the third telco player will be held on the same date based on the timeline set by the DICT.

The new major telco player is expected to be identified by December.

“By December ma-award na ang mga frequencies, permits at lisensya para makapag-operate na sila at pwede nang mag-rollout ng kanilang infrastructure. (By December, the frequencies, permits and licenses will be awarded for them to operate and rollout their infrastructures),” Rio said.

He said an improvement in communication services is expected by the first half of next year as the new telco player starts to gain subscribers.

“Papasok ang third telco na walang wala the only way na makaakit nila ang subscribers ng Globe and Smart na pumunta sa kanila ay gagandahan ang serbisyo nila at ibaba ang presyo ng serbisyo nila (The third telco will enter in the market with no subscribers the only way they can get subscribers from Globe and Smart is to offer quality services at an affordable cost),” Rio said.

The third telco player will be selected based on its highest committed level of service or its financial and technical capability to efficiently deliver communication services to the public, based on a memorandum circular released by the DICT last September 21.

Points will be given through the following criteria: national population coverage, capital and operational expenditures and minimum average broadband speed.

Among the companies that have earlier 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.