SC asked to stop Globe, Smart's use of 700 MHz frequency
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) was asked to invalidate the agreement between telecommunications giants Smart Communications and Globe Telecom to share the 700 megahertz (MHz) broadcast frequency and 4 sets of frequencies earlier awarded to San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
Through a 48-page petition for mandamus filed last Tuesday, October 23, lawyers Ferdinand Tecson and Joseph Baligod asked that the SC order the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to revoke the agreement and allow other telcos to use the frequencies instead.
What deal? PLDT and Globe were able to get the frequencies in 2017 by buying P70 billion worth of stocks of SMC's Vega Telecom on a 50-50 basis.
The acquisition was completed in May 2018. (READ: The future of 700 MHz band remains unclear)
The deal covered SMC's 700 MHz broadcast frequency and the following telecom signals: 2540-2545 MHz, 2580-2595 MHz, 2535-2540 MHz, and 2565-2580 MHz.
What's the problem? The lawyers said the deal was unconstitutional because it promoted the duopoly of Smart and Globe, and that the frequency they acquired was for television broadcasting and not for telecommunications.
"Despite that respondent Liberty (SMC) was no longer engaged in broadcasting business and despite the underutilization or, worse, non-utilization at all of the conditionally assigned said frequencies within the prescribed period, respondent Liberty continued to illegally hoard the said 700 MHz broadcast frequency," they said.
Despite this, the petitioners said the NTC "neglected" to recall the frequencies allotted for Liberty. The petitioners asked the SC to bar the NTC from bidding out or awarding frequencies returned by Globe and PLDT until their case is resolved.
'Illegal' transfer: The lawyers also said that in 2015, SMC assigned the 700 MHz frequency and the 4 other signals to Bell Telecommunications, a subsidiary of Vega Communications.
SMC should not have done this, the petitioners said, because it cannot assign the signals without congressional approval.
The petitioners asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against Smart and Globe from further using the frequencies as proceedings move forward. – Rappler.com