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Phil Long Distance Telephone Co.
...magbabayad ang 3rd telco sa TEL

MVP: P3B a ‘good price’ for CURE frequency

PLDT, Inc. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said P3 billion is a “good price” for possible compensation by a future player for the frequency surrendered by the telco as part of the government approval of its merger with Digitel Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (Digitel).

“I don’t know how much it would cost. It’s not really up to us, it’s with the NTC [National Telecommunications Commission]. It’s a good price, but it’s not up to us,’ Mr. Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of a Voyager Innovations, Inc. event on Jan. 18. 

NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgar Cabarios has said the third telecommunications player will have to compensate PLDT about P3 billion if they are to get the 3G (third generation) frequency returned by PLDT, then owned by its unit Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises (CURE), to the government as part of the approval of the merger with then-Gokongwei-owned Digitel.

NTC in 2011 ordered the divestment of 10 MHz of the 2100 MHz band, used for 3G, a condition for the approval of the deal with Digitel.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba at that time said the government would bid out the surrendered frequency, with PLDT given monetary compensation. PLDT would not be allowed to participate in the bidding, which has not been conducted until now.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is preparing the guidelines for the specifics of the frequencies to be given to the telco which will win in the selection process.

The DICT is set to reveal on Jan. 24 its specific guidelines for the selection of a third telco player.

DICT Officer-in-Charge Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said the compensation is still needed, and the third player, if interested in acquiring the 3G frequency, will have to assume the responsibility of compensation.

“Acquiring the frequency from CURE must be assumed by those who would get the frequency,” Mr. Rio said in a phone interview.

Mr. Rio said on Friday, Jan. 19 that the remaining frequencies, which are estimated by the Philippine Competition Commission at only around 12% of the entire frequencies, are “enough” for the third player to compete with PLDT and Globe Telecom, Inc.

 The DICT however, is looking at a “more equitable” allocation of frequencies in the long term, and this would possibly include reallocation or re-farming of frequencies.

However, Mr. Rio admitted this would take a long process and cannot immediately be carried out.

PLDT and Globe have earlier said they are wary of the said plan of the government.

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...delay in third telco operation is good for TEL GLO

DICT to seek for an extension of deadline for entry of 3rd telco provider

 The Department of Information and Communications Technology on Wednesday said it will relay to President Rodrigo Duterte concerns over the deadline for the entry of a third telecom player after potential entrants sought for more time to prepare.

In November last year, Duterte invited China to be his country’s third telecom provider that will challenge a longstanding duopoly that has angered consumers in a nation said to have the slowest internet speed in the Asia Pacific.

Beijing later picked China Telecom to invest in the Philippines, backed by a consortium of Filipino businesses. A third telecom carrier is targeted to be up and running by the first quarter of 2018.

During the DICT’s first public consultation for the arrival of a third telecom provider, participants pointed out that the March 2018 deadline is “too tight.”

In response, DICT Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said his agency will ask for an extension of “two months probably, from end of March.”

“So five months overall,” Rio said, adding that the DICT can only seek for an extension of a few months, not one year.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“We can’t wait for one year. I’m sure the president will not just ask us to resign but kick us out,” Rio was quoted as saying in a report by Bloomberg TV Philippines.

Aside from China Telecom, Malacañang had said South Korea’s LG Uplus Corp., Japan’s KDDI, and a Taiwanese telecom firm that was yet to be revealed were also eyeing the Philippines’ third telecom slot.

READ: Andanar: Firms from Japan, Taiwan also interested in being third telco player

According to a timeline presented by the DICT, the drafting of a memorandum circular—which contains the terms of reference for the selection and assignment of radio frequencies for the new player—will happen from January 9 to 19.

The memorandum circular is targeted to take effect on March 6, while the acceptance of bidding documents from participants is set on March 27. The third entrant in the telecom industry is expected to be announced on April 2.

Rio last January 8 signed Memorandum Order No. 001 which spells out the guidelines for the entry of a new major player in the Philippine telecom market.

Under MO No. 001, companies that are interested in the third telecom spot must possess a valid congressional telecommunications franchise, and have a written and binding commitment from a foreign joint venture company, if applicable.

Applicants must also not be an affiliate of Globe Group or PLDT Group of companies.

“The applicant with the highest committed investment for the first five years shall be selected. This commitment should be secured with a performance bond,” section 2 of the document read.

“The new major player shall be assigned radio frequency bands that are now available for assignment as identified by the NTC. Non-compliance with its commitment under section 2 hereof shall result in the automatic recall of the assigned radio frequencies,” it added.

In a January 17 report by BusinessWorld, Rio said plans to reallocate mobile frequency may require legislation, possibly prolonging the process of introducing a third player in the telecom industry.

Incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. hold the majority of radio frequencies. The two telecom giants have said they are using frequencies in the 700-megahertz (MHz) spectrum which they acquired from their purchase in 2016 of San Miguel Corp.’s telco assets.

The Philippine Competition Commission estimates that only 12.8 percent of the spectrum will be available for a potential third player.

Under the Constitution, foreign investors are only allowed up to 40 percent on certain businesses and industries. Hence, applicants will need to seek a local partner, and will require the approval of the PCC for a joint venture.

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PLDT to ramp up expansion of fixed, mobile networks

PLDT, Inc. is ramping up the expansion of its fixed and mobile networks as part of its five-year P260-billion capital expenditure (capex) program.

In a statement, the telecommunications giant said it has earmarked over P50 billion for this year’s capex. The company’s capital spending is expected to stay at the same level in the next two years. PLDT said this is separate from the P175 billion or $3.4 billion of capex that it invested in network building in the previous five-year period (2011 to 2015).

“What this means is that for every P1 of service revenue, we reinvest between P0.30-0.35 in the business to super-charge our networks and advance our digital transformation program. This is a massive effort to turn our networks into powerful, pervasive and resilient platforms for delivering relevant digital services and solutions that our people can use to improve their daily lives, as well as enable the country to compete and thrive in this digital age,” PLDT President, Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement. 

For its fixed line business, PLDT said it aiming to double its fiber and hybrid fiber broadband capacity to over 2.2 million ports, with about 650,000 of the additional ports for fiber and another 550,000 for hybrid fiber broadband. The company said by 2019, virtually all of PLDT’s 1.2 million copper-based digital subscriber line (DSL) subscribers will enjoy fiber-fast Internet. Within the next five-year cycle of network development (2021-2025), PLDT could have as many as 10 million homes passed with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

For mobile, PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. is targeting to double the number of long-term evolution (LTE) base stations to about 17,700 and increase the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to over 6,800. The number of 3G base stations will be over 12,400, while cell sites equipped with new 3G base stations will be over 8,000. Most of the new 4G and 3G base stations will be using frequencies acquired from San Miguel Corporation’s telecommunications unit.

PLDT said its total fiber footprint grew 45% from about 120,000 kilometers as of end-2015 to over 174,000 kilometers by end-2017.  For this year, PLDT will add another 33,000 kilometers of fiber cables and raise the total to nearly 210,000 kilometers by yearend.

Total capacity of its international fiber network is expected to jump 80% to 8.92 Terabits per second (Tbps) by end-2019, of which 8.11 Tbps will terminate in the Philippines. This will be boosted by its P7-billion investment in the new Trans-Pacific undersea cable system called Jupiter, which will boost the capacity and resiliency of its direct undersea fiber links to the West Coast of the United States and Japan. Jupiter will be built by a consortium of global companies which include Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank, PCCW Global and NTT Communications.

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PLDT to help MSMEs in e-commerce

PLDT, Inc. and its digital innovations unit Voyager Innovations, Inc partnered with GoNegosyo to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in e-commerce.

With the partnership, local businesses can participate in the mentorship program of GoNegosyo, which has been expanded to include training on how to establish and maintain online stores through TackThis, the online store builder of Voyager; access logistics and a nationwide market through Tackatack; and gain access to financial support through Lendr.

The program will also allow MSMEs to accept mobile cashless payments through PayMaya QR.

PLDT said the partnership is in line with the program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to equip more than 100,000 MSMEs with digital solutions by 2020. GoNegosyo is the advocacy of the NGO Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE).

“The enablement program covers much of what business owners need to ready themselves in expanding their operations and putting up a presence in the online market space as we’ve all seen how e-commerce has become the new frontier among Filipino consumers,” GoNegosyo President and CEO Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, also the Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship said in a statement.

“We are committed to help SMEs thrive and become more globally competitive through digital services and solutions,” PLDT Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement.

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