The Philippines’ government again delayed the timeframe for selecting a third operator, with the licence now expected to be awarded in September, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) reported.

A new oversight committee set up in April to monitor the selection of the country’s third mobile operator is scheduled to meet next week to approve the draft terms of the process.

Eliseo Rio, acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), expects the final terms to become effective in late June or early July, after which the bidding process can start. Bidders will have two months to prepare their offers, PDI said.

In February when DICT released the draft selection criteria, it said it aimed to finalise the terms by end-March and hold an auction on 18 May.

Growing interest
Rio said interested bidders include Philippine Telegraph and Telephone, Now, Converge ICT Solutions, EasyCall Communications Philippines and a group led by businessman Dennis Uy, the newspaper reported.

Press reports also indicated interest from China Telecom, South Korea-based LG Uplus, Japan operator KDDI and Viettel in Vietnam.

Rio expects more companies to compete for the licence once the terms have been finalised.

The government began pushing for the entry of a new player into the market in late 2017 to break the control of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, the mobile unit of PLDT, which each held a near 50 per cent market share at end-March

In November 2017, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte invited China to invest in the country’s telecoms sector to end the duopoly.