Duterte wants 3rd telco player by March

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte wanted to stick with the original time frame to allow the entry of a third telecommunications (telco) carrier by March this year, MalacaAang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque bared this in a Palace briefing, noting that Duterte had rejected the request of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Officer-in-Charge Eliseo Rio Jr. to extend the deadline to name the third telco carrier to May.

There was a request from (DICT) Officer-in-Charge Rio that they be given two additional months or until May to award and ensure that the third telecom carrier is up and about, Roque said.

This was not approved in yesterday's cabinet meeting so we stick it out with the original time frame of a third telecom player by March of this year, he added.

Rio sought for an extension to give prospective telco players more time to prepare bidding documents.

Roque said that Duterte was emphatic and issued a warning to the detractors of the entry of the third telco player not to test the will of the government.

He stressed that the President was particularly displeased with the fact that the government needed to buy back frequencies from a company, which he did not name, to give to the third telco player.

Moreover, he said that frequencies are owned by the state.

Frequencies are owned by the state. They were given for free and the President last night was emphatic. Since we gave these frequencies for free, he will not allow the holders to benefit from a free privilege by charging us anything to enable the third telecoms player to operate, Roque said.

Roque, meanwhile, assured that the government would comply with all legal requirements to allow the entry of the third telco, including holding a bidding.

At present, three firms have expressed interest in becoming the country's third major player in the local telco industry.

DICT earlier said the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT and T), Now Corporation, and Converge ICT were eyeing to form their separate consortia with foreign partners.

The agency has yet to wait for the official bidding documents that will formalize the firms' interest in becoming a major telco player. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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