The Department of Information and Communications Technology, or DICT, earlier said it had a “self-imposed timeline” of choosing the industry’s new entrant ahead of the president’s SONA in late July.
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Gov't might not name 3rd telco before Duterte SONA
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) - April 26, 2018 - 7:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government might not be able to name the new telecommunications player before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his next State of the Nation Address as officials are still  working on the draft criteria for selecting the third major service provider.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology, or DICT, earlier said it had a “self-imposed timeline” of choosing the industry’s new entrant ahead of the president’s SONA in late July.

But in an interview on Thursday, DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio, Jr. said the July target is now “very tight.”

According to Rio, the department’s deadline depends on the release of the second and final draft of the Terms of Reference, which spells out the rules and regulations in selecting the third telecom player.

The DICT has yet to issue the revised TOR, although Rio said the document will come out in the next few weeks.

Officials were supposed to present the latest draft of the TOR to stakeholders last March, but the event was postponed.

READ: Gov't mulls wider range of sanctions for 3rd telco's unmet commitments

Seeing a possible delay in the announcement of the new telecom carrier, Rio said his agency now hopes to start the bidding process three weeks before Duterte’s SONA on July 23.

Competing bidders will be given as much as two months to come up with their offers, a timeline that goes beyond July.

“We’re trying to avoid having to make major changes to the revised TOR once it’s out because we don’t want to confuse the stakeholders,” Rio explained in Filipino, adding that authorities are making sure that the selection process will be “transparent and objective.”

‘Another challenge’

To break a longstanding duopoly and boost service, Duterte invited foreign firms, backed by a consortium of Filipino businesses, to take a role in the country’s wireless communications market.

The company with the highest committed investment and level of service for the next five years will be selected as the new telecom provider. Meanwhile, major players PLDT and Globe say they welcome the competition.

For 2018, Globe has set aside a capital expenditure budget of P42.37 billion, unchanged from a year earlier. For its part, PLDT earmarked a record high capex program of at least P50 billion this year in anticipation of the arrival of the third telecom player.

In the same interview on Thursday, Rio said competing with the incumbents, which have been ramping up investments to improve service, is “another challenge” for the potential entrant.

Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the new challenger in the country’s telecom industry should prepare a P200-billion war chest to “effectively” compete.

“The magnitude of the investment requires that all elements, including the necessary access to available telecommunications infrastructure, are in place for the new player. Until such time, the bidding for its entry cannot be rushed,” Dominguez said.

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY THIRD TELECOMS PLAYER
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