Reallocation of 700 Mhz frequency difficult – NTC
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it would be difficult to reallocate the 700 Megahertz (Mhz) frequency band held by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) despite calls to auction it for faster Internet speed.

NTC director Edgardo Cabarios told reporters yesterday it would be hard to reallocate the frequency band since it has already been assigned.

SMC holds 90 Mhz of the total 100 Mhz on the 700 Mhz band through wi-Tribe Telecoms Inc.’s 80 Mhz and High Frequency Telecommunications Inc.’s 10 Mhz. The remaining 10 Mhz is held by New Century Telecommunications.

 “Reallocation is a quasi-judicial process…There must be a reason to recall,” Cabarios said.

An allocation could be recalled if the frequency is not being utilized or if spectrum user fees are not being paid.

Cabarios said the conditions to recall the allocation do not apply to SMC as it has obtained permit to purchase equipment for building its network and it continues to pay the fees.

Telco firms Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom. Inc. have called on the NTC to facilitate the equitable distribution of the 700 Mhz band via an auction to improve the Internet service in the country.

The 700 Mhz is key to providing faster Internet speeds and addressing the mobile data explosion as such allows signals to easily go through buildings and walls and covers larger areas with less infrastructure and investments needed as compared to frequencies in higher bands.

Ray Espinosa, regulatory and policies head of PLDT has said existing players can improve Internet service to consumers by being given their fair share of the 700 Mhz band.

“100 Mhz assigned and held by three companies is just too much. There is a lot of subscribers out there already pining for faster mobile Internet service and we can solve that well if we are also given some access to that,” he said.

Globe president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu said the company would also be interested to participate in the auction of the mobile frequency band.

SMC is not in favor of giving PLDT and Globe access to the 700 Mhz frequency citing the need to promote competition in the market.

 “They have more than enough frequency between them. They have almost 300 Mhz of LTE frequency. Why do they need more? All they need is to improve and fine-tune what they have,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.

Cabarios said both incumbent telco players can improve their Internet service by utilizing their existing frequencies.

 “All they have to do is continue to build their capacity,” he said.

 

ACIRC CABARIOS EDGARDO CABARIOS ERNEST CU FREQUENCY GLOBE TELECOM MHZ MHZ AND HIGH FREQUENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS INC NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION NEW CENTURY TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CO
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