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PLDT pushes auction of Bayantel frequencies

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Smart Communications Inc. reiterated yesterday their position that the government should auction the unused frequencies of cash-strapped Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (Bayantel).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), PLDT first vice president Melissa Vergel de Dios said the radio frequencies of Bayantel being acquired by Globe Telecom Inc. should be auctioned by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“It is both PLDT and Smart’s position that the arrangement circumvents pertinent laws and regulations regarding the assignment, allocation, or use of radio frequencies that call for the public auction of the contested radio frequencies which remained idle for over 10 years or since the grant of provisional authority to Bayantel way back in 2010,” De Dios said in the disclosure.

She pointed out that RA 3259 otherwise known as an act granting the international communications corporation a franchise to establish radio stations for domestic telecommunications, radiophone, broadcasting and telecasting prohibits the transfer or sale of any right without the approval of lawmakers.

“It should be noted that Bayantel’s franchise also specifically prohibits the transfer, sale or assignment of any right or privilege granted it without the approval of Congress,” she said.

The Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) last Oct. 9 prohibiting the NTC proceedings in connection with the plan of Globe to take over Bayantel.

The Special 17th Division of the appellate court granted PLDT’s motion for the issuance of a TRO enjoining the implementation of the orders issued by the NTC allowing the continuation of the proceedings in connection with Globe and Bayantel’s joint application for regulatory approval.

In the ruling, the CA said PLDT, as a stakeholder of the telecommunications industry has a clear right to be protected on account of the government’s policy to protect all telecom companies from unfair competition and to due process.

The court added that NTC should have first acted on the objections raised by PLDT in its opposition and not for the proceeding at the NTC to have steadily progressed.

On the other hand, Globe earlier said it would still pursue the rehabilitation of Bayantel amid the temporary set back caused by the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court.

Globe said the proposed takeover and rehabilitation of cash-strapped Bayantel encourages competition in the telecommunications industry and is expected to benefit the consumers.

Globe said the master restructuring agreement (MRA) between Globe and Bayantel as approved by the Pasig City regional trial court is based on a broad sectoral recognition of the need for Bayantel’s rehab starting with its major creditors like Goldman Sachs Group, Clearwater Capital Partners, Avenue Capital, and the UK based Spinnaker Capital.

 

AVENUE CAPITAL BAYAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS INC BAYANTEL CLEARWATER CAPITAL PARTNERS COURT OF APPEALS DE DIOS GLOBE GLOBE AND BAYANTEL GLOBE TELECOM INC GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP
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