PLDT to formalize waiver for 3G payment
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PLDT Inc. is formalizing its position to waive its right to receive payment for the 3G frequency of Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises (CURE) by sending a letter to the National Telecommunications Commission.

“We need to sign an agreement with the NTC. There’s been a letter circulating internally. So, formally, we have to send them a letter, which we will,” PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters yesterday.

“I have already taken the public position that we will waive all rights and benefits to the frequencies of CURE which have been turned over to NTC,” he said.

Earlier this month, Pangilinan said PLDT is willing to waive its right to receive payment from government for turning over the 3G frequency following presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s pronouncement that President Duterte was not pleased with reports that the government would have to buy back the CURE frequency.

Pangilinan said PLDT does not want to be seen as standing in the way of the entry of a new telco player in the market.

The 3G frequency of CURE was turned over to the government as one of the conditions for PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel or Sun Cellular from the Gokongwei Group.

PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. acquired CURE from former trade minister Roberto Ongpin in 2008 and operated the telco using the brand name RED Mobile.

In 2011, PLDT filed a petition for approval with the NTC for the acquisition of Digitel.

As a condition for the approval of the Digitel acquisition, the NTC ordered PLDT to divest itself of CURE in October 2011.

NTC, likewise, gave PLDT a nine-month transition period to migrate CURE’s customers to Smart.

Under NTC supervision, a competitive bidding would be conducted for CURE and a minimum price would be set to allow PLDT to recover the reasonable cost of its investment in acquiring, developing and operating CURE or the cost recovery amount.

Duterte wants a new telco player to enter the market to provide customers with another option and allow them to experience a better mobile service.

Under the draft rules and regulations issued by the government for the selection of a new telco carrier, the new player should have a net worth of least P10 billion and secure a congressional franchise.

The new player should also be at least 60 percent Filipino-owned and not have any links to telco players with at least 40 percent market share.

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