Frequency hoarders soon punished

A House bill seeking the ease of entry of telecommunications companies and penalizing frequency hoarders has been filed before the House of Representatives.

House Bill 8134 or Systematizing Spectrum User Fees Imposed Against Radio Frequency Bands intended to systematize spectrum user fees on radio frequency bands and to combat duopoly that currently exists.

The author of the bill, Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo “Dax” Cua said despite Congress’ power to issue a legislative franchise to a third player, the two major players “have effectively prevented the entry of competition” by cornering most of the frequencies given out by the government. This forces new players to find a different frequency band to offer call, text and mobile data services.

“Here in the Philippines, majority of the frequencies are assigned to two players and the companies under their control. They have been granted more than enough frequencies but have failed to provide satisfactory service to Filipinos,” Cua said.

HB 8134 also proposes that a telco will be charged a premium on the spectrum if found underutilizing the frequency band.

Moreover, the National Telecommunications Commission will also be able to initiate call back or recall proceedings on unused, unutilized and underutilized frequencies.

Cua also added that by breaking the duopoly on the country’s frequencies, the Philippines would increase the competition and welcome new players to provide improved service quality, faster internet speeds and lower prices.

Earlier, DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio told a Senate panel that eight bidders — three of which are foreign companies — have bought bidding documents to compete for the third telco spot in the country.

He also said that a “provisional” third telco may be named by 7 November in keeping with the deadline that President Rodrigo Duterte has set.

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