The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expects that the new major telco player will be identified within the last week of May until the first week of June this year.
This as the department has extended its acceptance of bidding documents until May 24, 2018 from its original March deadline for companies that are interested to become the third major telco player in the country.
DICT has likewise decided to remove the required minimum capital of PHP10 billion for any prospective telco company for them to focus on rolling out the necessary infrastructure for the improvement of Internet services in the country.
“We took the PHP10 billion committed investment out as the stakeholders think that because of the efficiency of their system they do not need to spend as much as the other telcos because of the legacy equipment that they have. We can have an efficient system at a lesser cost,” DICT officer in charge Sec. Eliseo Rio Jr. said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the 2nd stakeholders consultation on the entry of a new major telecommunications player held in Quezon City Tuesday.
The DICT is looking on a firm’s level of service through the scope of areas of coverage, committed Internet speed through its network, telco services offered and committed infrastructure annually and for the next five years.
“We want telcos to present their committed infrastructure bahala na kayo how you will spend for it. Kung ganito lang ang kailangan ninyo to rollout the infrastructure because the new technology is much cheaper and efficient that will redound to less costs for the subscribers. Mas mura yung Internet access at mabibilis pa,” according to Rio.
The government will impose a performance bond on the winning bidder to ensure the quality of their services.
“Pupukpukin namin ang third telco to come up with world-class services. Yun ang kanilang i-commit sa kanilang proposal talagang they need to try their best in meeting international standards for Internet speed,” the DICT official reiterated.
The DICT is currently studying three versions of the proposed guidelines for the selection of a third telco player.
The first version which is based on a draft memorandum circular released by the department on Feb. 19 will determine the winning bidder through the highest committed financial investment for the past five years.
The second version which is being proposed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will select the new major telco player based on the scope of coverage of a prospective bidder.
Under the said guidelines, the third telco player should have covered at least 65 percent of the population after five years and 80 percent of the population in eight years.
The third version proposed by various stakeholders in the industry will select the new telco player based on its higher committed level of service.
The service availability would ensure that the new player would become at par with the existing major telco players and provide seamless interconnection.
The government will provide its support to the new telco player by ensuring the frequency bands to be used; facilitate agreement for the use of the dark fiber network from the National Transmission Commission (Transco) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), provide access to DICT facilities and facilitate issuance of international gateway facility license.
The DICT is set to release the revised guidelines on April 9 which will take effect on April 24.
The Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T), Now Corporation, and Converge ICT have earlier expressed their interest to become the new major telco player and are eyeing to form their separate consortia with foreign partners.
Telco companies from China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have likewise signified their interest to invest in the industry. PNA