3rd telco seen serving missionary areas

Remote or so-called “missionary” areas should soon enjoy the benefits of internet connectivity once a third communications player enters the scene to challenge the existing duopoly in telecommunications, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio on Thursday said some 40 percent of the country is either unserved or underserved by the two telecommunications giants. The entry of a third player should turn the tide in favor of consumers.

“The tendency of the new telco is to go where there is no competition,” said Rio in a statement. “Once the infrastructure is in place, the economy in those areas will grow. People there will have jobs because there is telecom service.”

Rio also said the government will provide assistance in building shared or common towers and other infrastructure such as roads to help the telcos set up in remote areas.

He revealed that eight bidders – three of which are foreign — have bought the bidding documents to vie for the third telco post, Rio told a Senate hearing on 22 October.

A “provisional” third telco may be named by 7 November, Rio said, barring any court order regarding NOW Telecom’s case against the National Telecommunications Commission.

Earlier, Malacañang said it expects to name the third telecommunications provider by November in keeping with the deadline set by the President himself.

“That is the deadline given by the President. Hopefully, it will be met,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

This developed even though the DICT said the selection process faces a delay due to a complaint lodged by NOW Telecom against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over its alleged “money-making scheme.”

NOW Telecom questioned the NTC requirement asking bidders for a P700-million participation security, P14 billion to P24 billion as performance security and P10 million in non-refundable appeal fee.

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