Dennis Uy-China Telecom consortium provisionally named 3rd telco

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The consortium of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom) provisionally won the bidding for the Philippines' 3rd major telecommunications player slot on Wednesday, November 7.

Their group, called Mislatel Consortium, also includes Udenna subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation and the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company.

"We want to commend the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) for a fair and transparent selection process. We are honored and humbled to be chosen as the [new major player]," Udenna spokesperson Adel Tamano said after the announcement.

Mislatel garnered a total of 456.8 points out of a possible perfect score of 500 under the criteria of the Highest Level Commitment of Service (HCLOS).

The lone qualified bidder was judged according to national population coverage (40%), capital and operational expenditure (35%), and the minimum average broadband speed (25%). (FAST FACTS: 3rd telco player selection rules)

Mislatel beat two other bidders for the slot: the Sear Telecom consortium of the Luis Chavit Singson Group and TierOne Communications, and the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T).

Sear Telecom and PT&T's bid documents were both deemed incomplete, so they were disqualified from the bidding. The two can still file motions for reconsideration within 3 days. (READ: Uneven playing field? Disqualified bidders slam 3rd telco rules)

'Smooth' process

While only one company satisfied all bid requirements, Better Broadband Alliance lead convener Mary Grace Mirandilla Santos commended the NTC and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

"We are very glad that the process was smooth. We see a lot of effort was put into place so that each aspect of the selection process is transparent," Santos said.

"From the drafting of the memorandum circular down to the opening and evaluation of the bid, all aspects were shown to us," she added.

Santos even recommended that the bidding model be emulated by other government projects for its transparency.

China Telecom is one of the largest telecommunications providers in China. It is publicly listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the United States' New York Stock Exchange.

According to the company's website, it has about 250 million subscribers. It ranked 174th in the Forbes Global 2000 list, which is based on a composite ranking of sales, profit, assets, and market value.

President Rodrigo Duterte initially preferred China Telecom or a Chinese-led company to be the 3rd telco player and wanted it to operate in the 1st quarter of 2018. However, the government eventually opened the doors to other players.

The Uy-led Udenna, which was incorporated in 2002, is among the fastest growing holding companies in the Philippines. It is in the business of distribution and retail of petroleum products and lubricants of Phoenix Petroleum.

Uy, whose business empire started in the President's hometown of Davao City, was among Duterte's top campaign donors in the 2016 elections. (READ: How to grow a business, according to Dennis Uy– Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

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

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