By Genalyn Kabiling
The public will finally know the country’s third major telecommunications player by December, President Duterte declared Tuesday.
The President said he would “take over” the selection process of the third telco player if no decision is made by November, and choose the company with the “best track record.”
“I will, maybe early November, kapag wala pa, I will take over. Ilagay ko yan sa Office of the President and I will invite all dito negosyante and I will decide in front of them kung sino,” Duterte said over government television.
Duterte said he would ask interested companies to submit their proposals to his office so he could review them.
“I will resolve it by early, late November and early October, November. By Christmas, alam na ng mga tao kung sino ang third telco player,” he added.
Duterte admitted he was dismayed with the delay in the selection of the third telco company. “I’ve been waiting for that critical decision until now. Wala,” he said.
But Duterte said he was guarding against the practice of lowest bid in choosing the third telco player in the country.
“I will select pinakamagandang record na walang breakdown. So what? Why should I buy the cheapest?” he said.
“I will choose the best, yung pinakamahal and with the best track record in the business,” 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.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which is handling the selection process of the third telco company, however, has requested for an extension of the deadline.
Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July, said he wants the next third major telco player to offer the “best possible services at reasonably accessible prices” to the local market.
He said the draft of the terms of reference for the entry of a new major industry player was at hand. He said the terms would be fair, reasonable and comprehensive.
“It will be inclusive so it will be open to all interested private parties, both foreign and local. The only condition is that the chosen entity must provide the best possible services at reasonably accessible prices,” he said.