By FLORO L. MERCENE
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has rolled out the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the 3rd telco. Bidders were aghast finding changes in the wording, just to “entice serious bidders” with huge war chests.
Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) acting Secretary Eliseo Rio, thrashed NOW Telecom, asking why NOW, a committed moneyed bidder, is asking pesky questions.
NOW Telecom went to court and secured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) so that corrective language can be introduced.
The NTC set a date for clarification but the participation fee shot from P500M to P700M in days without explanation, while the appeal was monetized at P10 million “to avoid frivolous appeals!” The maximum capex/OPEX ballooned to P240 billion in five years.
The terms of reference (TOR) were explained by NTC Commissioner Liel Cordoba, who reportedly out-sourced the preparation of the rules to a group of lawyers.
After Rio thrashed the “mother company of NOW Telecom,” Cordoba said “NOW Telecom has withdrawn their claims on certain frequencies.” It is still pending before the Supreme Court, but Cordoba and Rio wanted NOW Telecom to withdraw the case.
“To give the frequencies to Globe Telecom and make it at par with Smart’s frequencies. PLDT has 400MHz of total spectrum while Globe Telecom has 300 MHz? Is that why Cordoba delayed the grant of the remaining frequencies for the past 11 years to NOW Telecom.
Instead of the duopoly fighting tooth and nail against the new entrant in the lush telco market, today government regulators seem bent against NOW Telecom, who has “P99-million net income and has paid up of P13 billion, operating a 4G LTE network.”
The four local telcos have ZERO operations and ZERO net income. One having negative P13 billion equity and buried with debts, pet NTC.
NOW Telecom is led by Mel Velarde, the guy who purchased the Murillo map of the Philippines as evidence in the arbitration case against China.
Rio and Cordoba ignored the key objective of having a 3rd Telco, as announced by President Duterte, who wants a 3rd Telco to provide a decent and reliable service.