Bam Aquino to conduct probe on new telco, 'the more, the merrier' - The Daily Sentry

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bam Aquino to conduct probe on new telco, 'the more, the merrier'

Composite photo of Senator Bam Aquino and a telco tower from Google

Manila, Philippines – Opposition Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th on Monday urged the government to keep the market to more telecommunications companies (telcos) in order to give more options of quality and affordable internet connection to the people.

This statement of Aquino came amid the impending entry of the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel) as the third telco.

'The more, the merrier'

Aquino, who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, is reportedly set to conduct a public hearing on November 20, 2018 for the possibility of adding more telco players.

“Kailangan natin ng dagdag-kumpetisyon sa ating bayan (We need more competition in our country),” the senator said

“Why limit the industry to three players? The more, the merrier the consumer,” he added.

Aquino also said that small countries like Singapore have three to four telcos.

According to the senator, the said hearing would also probe other issues about Mislatel, which includes the possible national security and the accusations of spying against one of its partners, China Telecommunications Corporation.

Aquino, principal sponsor of the law providing free internet in public places, has been investigating the slow and expensive internet connection in the country since the 16th Congress.

The third telco player

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has confirmed yesterday that Mislatel is the new third telco player in the country with the government giving the assurance that the choice had nothing to do with the company’s ties with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The NTC has issued a new major player confirmation order to the group of Udenna Corp., Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., China Telecom and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc., known as the Mislatel consortium.*

The said order stated that the status of new major telco is ruled in favor of Mislatel group  given the absence of any of the grounds to withhold confirmation “after a review and deliberation of the New Major Player-Selection Committee Resolution No. 2018-11-01 and its supporting documents.”

The mislatel has 90 days starting today November 20 to submit to the NTC the necessary documents and required performance security for the issuance of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).

“They have to really formalize their organization, register with Securities and Exchange Commission and SEC has to approve their consortium that it can operate in the Philippines and it does not violate any law in the Philippines."acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio stated.

"Also, they need some approval from the Philippine Competition Commission, National Economic and Development Authority and National Security Adviser for background check on the consortium members. They will also have to submit their rollout plan, that is also important,” he added

Representatives of the Mislatel group arrive at the NTC on Monday to receive their confirmation order. PHOTO BY LISBET ESMAEL of Manila Times