The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) criticised PLDT and Globe Telecom for attempting to pre-empt pending court rulings after the pair made the final payment to complete an acquisition of San Miguel Corp’s (SMC) telecoms assets, BusinessWorld reported.
In a statement, the commission said it: “stands by its position that Globe and PLDT should not have proceeded with the payment of their final installment on the telco deal, considering pending cases filed before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.”
“Completing the payment for the telco assets is a move that unduly pre-empts the forthcoming rulings.”
PLDT and Globe Telecom earlier in the week made the last installment of PHP13 billion ($261 million) for the joint acquisition, despite an ongoing court challenge from the PCC. The agency earlier requested the operators refrain from “performing any action for the consummation or implementation of the terms of the acquisition” while the Supreme Court evaluates its request to lift an injunction against its review of the transaction.
In May 2016 PLDT’s mobile unit Smart and Globe, which control 99 per cent of the county’s mobile connections, teamed up to make the 50:50 joint purchase for PHP69.1 billion.
Before the acquisition, SMC was considering launching a third mobile operation in partnership with Australia’s Telstra to inject some much needed competition into the market.
PCC’s attempts to review the deal were blocked by the courts after Smart and Globe filed for temporary restraining orders in July 2016. PCC issued a statement in late August 2016 warning the deal is “likely” to negatively impact competition.
Amid calls for more competition, Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte in October 2016 warned the country’s two dominant mobile operators he would open the market to Chinese competition if they fail to improve their poor service.
Both operators have aggressively pushed ahead with network deployments in the newly acquired 700MHz spectrum to expand coverage and improve speeds.