DICT on track to name 3rd telco player before Christmas

Ralf Rivas
DICT on track to name 3rd telco player before Christmas

Rappler

The Department of Information and Communications Technology sets November 7 as the deadline for the selection of a new major telecommunications player

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) remained firm in saying they will be able to name the country’s third telecommunications service provider by December, as they unveiled the final timetable for the selection process.

In an information campaign held on Tuesday, October 2, the DICT announced the following important dates:

  • Effectivity of the memorandum circular– October 6
  • Invitation to bid- October 7
  • Issuance of selection documents- October 8
  • Pre-selection information session and form A training- October 15
  • Last day for submission of clarificatory questions- October 22
  • Last day for response to clarificatory questions- November 2
  • Submission and opening of bids- November 7 

Under the DICT’s rules, the new telco player will be chosen according to the highest committed level of service (HCLOS) model. 

They will be scored according to internet speed, population coverage, and their committed investment for 5 years.

Officials from Udenna Corp, EasyCall Communications, NOW Corp, Converge ICT Solutions, Transpacific Broadband Group, and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp were present during the discussions. (LIST: Companies vying for Philippines’ 3rd telco spot)

Those present in the discussion had various concerns, including the tight schedule and the selection process itself. (READ: UK’s Vodafone may enter PH as 3rd telco)

For instance, Jose Bernas, representative of Converge ICT Solutions, was worried that companies will promise the maximum level of services, which would eventually led to a tie. 

He then explained that the companies will then resort to committing to very high capital and operational expenses amounting to as high as P500 billion just to win the bid, which Bernas said was not really necessary.

Bernas asked the DICT to consider other means to break a tie other than the company’s committed capital and operational expenses. 

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio assured Bernas that should this occur, the company will lose a hefty performance bond if they are unable to comply with their promised internet speed and coverage. 

Meanwhile, Ronald Solis, former Commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission, asked whether the government was open for a “realistic timeline. 

He said that while this issue is “not openly asked in public,” and said that prospective foreign bidders were “scrambling” with the schedule.

“The foreign telcos will discuss to their board and there will be another round of talks with aspirants, perhaps we can stretch the timeline,” Solis said.

Rio said said that “the timeline did not come from us, it came from the president himself.”

Should a new player not be set by December, Rio said President Rodrigo Duterte will “take over” and select the company himself. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.