By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is determined to facilitate the entry of a third major telecommunications company that can ably compete with the two existing players despite facing delays.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they are counting on Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio to exhaust efforts to attract a third major player in the country.
“Naiintindihan ko iyong hirap ng trabaho ni Acting Secretary Rio. And we, of course, trust in him at alam naman niya iyong kaniyang ginagawa (We understand how difficult the job of acting Secretary Rio is. And we of course trust in him and he knows what he’s doing),” Andanar said in a recent radio interview.
“Basta ang mahalaga po dito ay pumayag na ho si Presidente na mayroong third telco, at minamadali niya ito. At ang atin namang DICT ay ginagawa ang lahat ng kaniyang magagawa para maka-invite ng isang kumpaniya na talagang kayang magtayo at lumaban doon sa dalawa pang telco (The important thing is the President has approved the entry of a third player and he wants it hastened. Our DICT is doing its best to invite a company that can compete with the two other telcos),” he added.
Andanar said the government understands the need of the people to have better phone and internet services at competitive rates. “The only way for our country really to also compete with other countries is to have a very efficient telecommunication service,” he added.
The President earlier pushed for the entry of a third telco carrier in the country by March or April to break the duopoly of PLDT-Smart Communications and Globe Telecoms. He first made the offer to China to join the telco industry but other foreign companies have later shown interest in the venture.
Rio however recently announced that the entry of the country’s third telco player might have to wait until end of June or early July since the department was still finalizing a comprehensive terms of reference. He reportedly claimed that the TOR must be “attractive enough to contenders for the third telco player but at the same time not anti-competitive to the incumbent telcos.
Andanar said the third telco company must be “competitive” to give consumers more choices in the market.
“Alam natin na hindi naman biro mag-invest o magtayo ng isang telco. It will cost you mga three hundred billion pesos to four hundred billion. At siguro, ito rin siguro iyong challenge ng mga telcos also or mga players who will come as the third telco (We know that it is not a joke to invest or establish a telco. It will cost you P300 billion to P400 billion. And maybe this is the challenge of the telcos or the players who will come as the third telco),” Andanar said.