Filipino authorities hinted they may not rest in their bid to increase competition in the country’s mobile market, expressing a desire to release more spectrum to enable additional players to challenge a current duopoly between Globe Telecom and PLDT’s brand Smart.

Just days after confirming Mislatel, a consortium backed by China Telecom, as the latest mobile entrant, an official from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) raised the possibility of seeking additional competitors, BusinessWorld reported.

Mislatel will become the nation’s third major mobile operator (and fourth overall), but the newspaper reported DICT undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim said the only limit to further opening up the market is the amount of radio frequencies available: “If we have enough frequencies, we’ll allow a fourth telco, a fifth telco,” BusinessWorld reported.

Eliseo Rio, DICT acting secretary, said it is also exploring the possibility of increasing spectrum usage fees to encourage operators which don’t maximise their frequency bands to turn them over to the government, the newspaper stated.

Mislatel was allotted spectrum in the 700MHz, 2100MHz, 2000MHz, 2500MHz, 3300MHz and 3500MHz bands. It will take on the country’s two leading players, which combined hold a 99.8 per cent market share.

DICT this week also signed a letter of intent with China Telecom to allow the operator to use the government’s cable landing facilities to deploy a submarine cable which will connect the Philippines directly to Hong Kong and the US.