MANILA – China Telecom has formally solidified its interest in participating in the Philippines’ telecommunications industry. The foreign firm on Friday purchased bidding documents to begin its application for the selection process for the next big player. It is the second foreign firm, after Norway’s Telenor Group, to express interest in being the third Telco in the Philippines.
China Telecom purchased bidding documents, worth around PHP1 million at 11 am Friday, October 12. Other perspective bidders are TierOne Communications in partnership with the LCS Group of Companies, Udenna Corp., PT&T Corp., Now Telecom, and an unidentified company.
Now Telecom, of the candidates, is the only one to file a case against the National Telecommunications Commission. The complaint, filed on Oct. 8 the same day Now purchased bidding documents, cites discrepancies between certain provisions in the terms of reference, which supposedly we’re not covered in the prior public consultations. The complaint has been filled before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
The provisions in question include the PHP700-million participation security, the PHP14-billion to PHP24-billion performance security, and a PHP10-million non-refundable appeal fee. According to Now Telecom, all of which are considered barriers to entry and “money making schemes” meant to favor certain players and eliminate other prospectives.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. explained in a statement that the provisions exist to ensure that the candidate is qualified to and capable of providing the needed Institute and service. Financial and technical capabilities are necessary criteria in the selection process, to assure that the selected candidates can compete with the existing duopoly of Globe Telecom and PLDT.
Rio also expressed approval of the rising number of submissions for the slot.
“This shows telcos’ confidence in the selection process that only Now (Telecom), out of 7, is challenging in court,” said Rio.
The DITC Chief said that Now’s case against the NTC serves only to delay the selection process and complicate the process of determining the third telco player.
The department aims to award the third Telco contract by December.