Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte set up an oversight committee to ensure the entry of a third mobile operator is “undertaken in an integrated and transparent manner”.
The committee will be responsible for assisting the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in formulating the terms for selecting and assigning of spectrum and ensuring the timely entry of a new player into the market, which is controlled by two players. Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, the mobile unit of PLDT, hold a duopoly in the country’s mobile industry, with each having a near 50 per cent market share at end-March.
Duterte (pictured, right) issued an administrative order to “ensure reliable, inexpensive and secure telecommunications services in the country”. The order noted that because the country’s telecoms services are among the most expensive in Southeast Asia, the entry of a new player “is a matter of paramount national interest…by ensuring genuine competition in the country’s telecommunications industry”, BusinessWorld reported.
The committee’s chairperson will come from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), while the vice chairperson will be from the Department of Finance. Other representatives will come from the Office of the Executive Secretary and National Security Adviser.
Setting the rules
In February DICT released draft criteria for selecting the country’s third telecoms operator and held a public consultation on the proposed rules in March.
The Philippines government in December 2017 identified China Telecom as the company to become the third operator in the country a matter of weeks after Duterte invited China to invest in the country’s telecoms sector.
In October 2016 Duterte warned the county’s two dominant mobile operators he would open the market to Chinese competition if they failed to improve their poor service.