Duterte forms oversight panel for entry of 3rd telco player

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the creation of an oversight committee that would assist the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the entry of the third major telecommunications player in the country.

Under his Administrative Order No. 11, Duterte has ordered the oversight committee to assist the NTC in the formulation of the Term of Reference (TOR) for the selection and assignment of radio frequencies for the entry of new telco player.

The panel will also oversee compliance of the NTC and other implementing agencies with the TOR provisions.

On the other hand, all concerned government agencies have been directed to provide necessary support to the NTC and to the oversight committee to streamline and expedite the issuance of permits, licenses and/or certificates.

It is the objective of this Administration to ensure reliable, inexpensive and secure telecommunications services in the country, stated in the A.O. signed by the President on April 6, 2018.

Telecommunications is essential infrastructure to a country's economic development and competitiveness, it added.

The entry of a new major telco player, according to the President's order, is a matter of paramount national interest which shall redound to the benefit of the public by ensuring genuine competition.

There is a need to ensure that the entry of a new major player in the telecommunications market shall be undertaken in an integrated and transparent manner, it said.

The oversight committee shall be functus officio within 30 days from the selection and assignment of the frequencies subject to the TOR to the new major telecommunications player.

The panel will be composed of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary as chairperson; Finance chief as vice-chairperson; Office of the Executive Secretary; and, National Security Adviser.

Recently, the DICT announced that the selection of the third telco player is expected to be made before the President delivers his third state of the nation address (SONA) in July.

The Philippines has one of the most expensive telecommunications services in Southeast Asia, according to the Global Information Technology Report 2016 of the World Economic Forum.

The International Telecommunications Union has even ranked the Philippines as one of the lowest among Southeast Asian countries in terms of ICT development.

At present, the country's telecommunications sector is dominated by PLDT-Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

Duterte has repeatedly expressed his disappointment over poor internet and mobile phone services in the country.

Telco players from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India have signified their interest to invest in the Philippines' telecommunications industry. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency