Globe to PLDT: No need to auction Bayantel frequencies
MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc is opposing the call of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s (PLDT) for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to auction the radio frequency of cash-strapped Bayan Telecommunications Holdings Inc (Bayantel).
The radio frequencies being disputed by PLDT are vital to the court-approved rehabilitation of Bayantel, Globe general legal counsel Froilan Castelo said in a statement, Friday, October 31.
“The radio frequencies were already assigned to Bayan. These frequencies are essential part for the success of Bayan’s rehabilitation as approved by the Pasig Regional Trial Court,” Castelo said.
PLDT had argued that Globe stands to acquire a grossly disproportionate number of frequencies in relation to subscribers. The dominant carrier added that Globe does not need the frequency spectrum assigned to Bayantel as its subscriber-to-frequency ratio is significantly lower than that of PLDT.
Globe currently accounts for 32% of the cellular market as against PLDT’s 68%.
Globe already has control over 22.5 megahertz (MHz) of the 1800 MHz 2G bandwidth, versus PLDT’s 37.5 MHz, 50 MHz, and 2500MHz 4G bandwidth and 35MHz.
As Globe pursues the acquisition, the telecommunications firm would have access to Bayantel’s 50MHz for 4G frequencies, plus its existing 45MHz. Meanwhile, PLDT through Smart and Digitel only has access to 35Mhz of frequencies in 4G bandwidth.
The proposed Globe takeover of Bayantel does not need congressional approval as the transaction only involves the transfer of shares of stocks, Castelo argued.
He added, "Let us reiterate that Bayan and Globe have a responsibility to serve the expanding needs of Filipino consumers through improved products and services. The success of Bayan’s rehabilitation will give the Filipinos a better alternative service provider."
The transaction they are pursuing is similar to PLDT’s acquisition of Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Sun Cellular) in 2011.
PLDT spent close to P70 billion ($1.56 billion) to buy out Gokongwei’s stake in Digitel.
Globe had opposed the planned merger between PLDT and Digitel.
On October 9, the Court of Appeals issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from acting on Globe’s application to take over some of Bayantel’s frequencies.
The appellate court favored PLDT’s petition seeking a TRO on Globe's acquisition of an additional 42.8% additional 4G frequency access from Bayantel.
Lopez-led Bayantel had previously said the TRO would further delay proceedings and impact the company’s 350,000 customers in terms of much needed service improvement. – Rappler.com