Interconnection rates will be lowered to welcome third telco – Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Improvement of the country’s telecommunications, specifically in its internet services, has repeatedly been declared one of the Duterte administration’s top priorities.

“My administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunication services are reliable, inexpensive, and secure,” President Duterte said during his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 23.

With frequent discussions of new players entering the industry, the president took some time to share some updates on the state of a third telecommunication player entering the game.

He said the spot is open to all interested parties, both foreign and local. The only condition is that the chosen player must provide “the best possible service at reasonably accessible prices.”

It was previously reported that an oversight committee agreed that the supposed third telco will be chosen based on the quality of coverage, internet speed and investment - or the highest committed level of service (HCLoS) model.

President Duterte added that they will be lowering interconnection rates which not only lowers the cost of services for customers but also lowers the cost incoming players have to pay to access existing networks.

Many, including the current administration, believe having another player enter the industry can help improve internet speeds and other communications services.

“All of our efforts to usher in a new major player shall render futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry long dominated by a duopoly," he added.

While it may be too early to tell if this will solve the country’s telecommunication problems, the Duterte administration is firm in its decision to foster a market environment “conducive to competition” and end the current duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

The president also said the terms of reference (TOR) for the entry of the incoming player is “at hand."

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. previously said that they are looking to have the TOR ready by the first week of August and award the selected entity by December.

Considering no delays, the third telco could be up and running as early as next year. – Rappler.com