PCC assisting DICT for easier entry of 3rd telco
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is helping the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) come up with "alternatives" that would allow a 3rd major telecommunications player to enter the market without having to be reviewed by the antitrust body post-bidding.
Prospective bidders have been teaming up and forming consortia for the planned auction for the 3rd telco slot.
Under the Philippine Competition Act and its rules and regulations, companies forming a joint venture have to notify the PCC of the transaction should they qualify under certain notification requirements. (READ: PCC doubles threshold for review of mergers)
"We are trying to look at possible modalities which will be less intrusive," PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe said in a press conference in Pasig City on Wednesday, March 7.
"If the award has already been made and that's when they actually form their consortium, does the PCC want to come in at that point and then scramble the eggs? Probably not," he added.
Incorporate in auction terms
The PCC commissioner said one way to provide an easier entry for the 3rd telco is to incorporate in the terms of reference some items that would ensure the criteria for selection will prevent anti-competitive concerns from arising later on.
"For instance, DICT already has one item there which says... participants cannot be related parties to a dominant player in the telecoms market – the dominant player being someone who has at least 40% of market share," Bernabe said.
"And subsequently prohibiting the winning bidder from assigning or selling its shares to a dominant player, so from our end, we see that as one of the elements which would ensure that competition in the market would not be reduced," he added. (READ: [OPINION] Are PCC, NTC fit to handle 3rd telco player?)
To ensure that the winning joint venture would not reduce or hamper competition, Bernabe said the PCC is thinking of requiring documents that would ensure compliance with the items in the terms of reference.
"We would propose that the Competition Commission will look at these requirements as part of their compliance to participate in the bid and if we see that those requirements are complied with, then we don't need to look at the winning bidder or review the consortium post-award," he said.
The DICT had said it plans to publish the final version of the terms of reference for the auction on April 9, with the tentative bidding date on May 24. (READ: Philippines to 'add sweeteners' in guidelines for 3rd telco auction)
"It will not be an exception but an alternative method of review," Bernabe said. – Rappler.com