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Telco bidders oppose auction of frequencies

Most groups seeking to become the country’s third major telecommunications player opposed the auction of frequencies as proposed by the Finance Department.

The Department of Information and Communications said an informal survey among 15 potential players that participated in the public hearing Friday found that 75 percent preferred the highest committed level of service or HCLoS for the selection of the new major telco player.

Results of the survey showed that only 17 percent among the participants chose the auction mode being pushed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. Eight percent abstained from the survey.

“This is a DICT affair... I have full responsibility, therefore I have to decide that I have to go forward because I am being instructed by the President,” acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said.

“Secretary Dominguez can come up with his own, defending his own position, but more or less as far as the DICT is concerned, we have I think enough data, enough encouragement to go ahead with the highest committed level of service,” Rio said.

“If everything goes well and there would be no major setback, we can now name the third telco by end of September or early October,” he said.

The results of the survey will be presented to an oversight committee, composed of the DICT, the National Telecommunications Commission, the Department of Finance, the National Security Adviser and the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Under the HCLoS, the criteria for the selection of new major telco player are national population coverage (40 percent weightage), minimum average broadband speed (20 percent weightage) and annual capital and operational expenditure (40 percent weightage) computed annually over a five -year period. 

The annual minimum levels for each of the criteria are 30 percent for national population coverage,  5 megabits per second for the minimum average broadband speed and P40 billion for the capital and operational expenditure.

The selection committee will use a point system based on the documents submitted by the potential players.

Based on the second draft of memorandum circular in selecting the third major telco player that would challenge the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, the DICT said the participant with the highest amount of bid for five years would be selected as the new major player. 

“After the said period, the NMP shall be subject to the applicable SUF [spectrum users fee] pursuant to prevailing rules and regulations. The minimum amount of bid shall be P36.58 billion,” the DICT said. 

The National Telecommunications Commission will assign frequency band ― 700 megahertz (MHz), 850 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2010 MHz, 2.5 GHz (gigahertz), 3.3 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 10.5 GHz to the new player.

The bid documents can purchase by prospective participants from the National Telecommunications Commission for P1 million. 

Topics: Department of Information and Communications , Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez , Secretary Eliseo Rio , National Telecommunications Commission
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