April 23, 2018, 7:55 am
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Japanese, Taiwanese eye 3rd telco slot

Major telecommunication companies from Japan and Taiwan are among the latest firms to signify their interest to bid for the chance to be the third major mobile and data provider in the Philippines, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said  in an interview by radio DzMM yesterday.

Andanar said the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) has identified KDDI Corp. as the Japanese firm but failed to name the Taiwanese company.

He said the two firms, along with Korean firm LG Plus, which is partnering with the Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Cop (PT&T), and China Telecoms, are interested in setting up their operations in the Philippines and help break the duopoly formed by PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom in the telecommunications industry.

Andanar said besides improving voice services and boosting internet speed, the entry of a third player would pave the way for   additional funding or investment into the country.

The third player is expected to put up P400 billion to P500 billion in investments in the next five years.

Andanar said the third player would also be asked to sign a clause that prevents them from selling their firm to PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom and its subsidiaries.

“To ensure competition, that is the beauty of the new agreement with the third player as it included that clause,” said Andanar in Filipino. 

Andanar said there are reports that Comclark Network and Technology Corp. (Converge) of Dennis Uy is looking at a possible consortium that would join the bidding but details are not yet final.

He said the interest of many foreign companies is welcome especially as even the LTE (Long Term Evolution) service in the country had started to slow down due to the growing number of users.
He said the country needs to update to a fifth generation (5G) system to be at par with other countries in terms of speed and efficiency of service.

Andanar also noted the need to expand telco services in more parts of the country.

Asked if the Philippines could accommodate more telecommunications players instead of limiting the industry to three major players, Andanar said it is not advisable at the moment due to the huge investment required.

 “We have to take into consideration the size of the Philippine market. Three players for the Philippines could be enough at this point,” he said.

Andanar, meanwhile, said there had been no word if Australian firm Telstra would also offer a bid. 

Telstra had previously tied up with San Miguel Corp.  but the latter had sold its telecommunications assets  to PLDT-Smart and Globe.

He also said that ZTE is not expected to join the bid since it is a not a major telecommunications company but a broadband services provider.

He said DICT target is put up 30,000 free wi-fi hotspots this year and at least 250,000 by 2022
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