By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Information Communications Technology (ICT) Davao president Atty. Samuel Matunog welcomed the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte in his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Wednesday on the entry of a third major telecommunications company (telco) and the need to lower the interconnection rates between telcos because it would compel existing players to deliver competitive services.
“The entry of a 3rd player will compel existing players to evolve in order to be competitive, and so I foresee that this will force them to move to the next step – 5G technologies – which will translate to faster and better services for all,” Matunog said.
Matunog also lauded the draft Terms of Reference on the selection of a third industry player that will provide the new entrant with level and competitive playing field in the country.
Duterte said in his speech that the terms will be “fair, reasonable, and comprehensive” as he said the new industry player is at hand.
He added the selection will be inclusive in that all interested private parties, be they foreign or local, can participate, reiterating that his administration remains firm in ensuring that the country’s telecommunication services are reliable, inexpensive, and secure.
The President said that the only condition that he demands from the chosen entity is that it must provide the best possible services at reasonably accessible prices.
“However, our efforts to usher in a new major player shall be rendered futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry that has long been dominated by a well-entrenched duopoly,” he added.
Duterte said the country will lower interconnection rates between all industry players to not only lessen the cost to the consumers but also lower the costs for the incoming player to access existing networks to enable a market environment that is more conducive to competition.
“This is a policy which is crucial to ensure that our solution to our telecommunication problems will be both meaningful and lasting,” he said.
The TOR is just the first step and the third telco player would still have a long way to go, Matunog said.
“The player once chosen still need towers, submarine/terrestrial cables between and across islands, international gateways to connect to the internet outside the country and broadband capacity – all will take time to implement,” he added.
Matunog said the city will see a dramatic drop in the costs of broadband once the new player start to operate without relying on the infrastructure of the existing telcos but he believed there’s no assurance of improved services because “the way we consume broadband is fast evolving.”
“We now want content live streamed to our mobile services, and this demand will continue to cause congestion on the network, even with a 3rd telco player,” he added.
He added the 50,000 industry workers in the city will be able to guarantee superior quality services to the clients abroad and will translate to secure and better paying job opportunities.