Philippines internet speed to become faster with 3rd telco

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Internet speed in the country may rise to third fastest in Southeast Asia from being among the slowest at present with the provisional third telco player’s commitment in its first year of operations, but telco giant PLDT has advised the public to temper their expectations for at least two years with the arrival of the new major player.

Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio told The STAR that Mislatel consortium’s promised minimum average internet speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) on its first year would be the third fastest among those offered across ASEAN. 

“In just its first year, they (Mislatel) have committed 27 Mbps. That is double the speed of Globe and Smart, which have been operating for 20 years,” Rio said.

With its commitment to bring it up to at least 55 Mbps on its second year, Rio said this would bring it to the same level or second to speeds in Singapore.

However, PLDT is doubting that the provisional new major player, a consortium composed of Dennis Uy’s Udenna and Chelsea Logistics, China Telecommunications, and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co., could deliver their commitments in its first two years.

“First question you have to ask is how long will it take them to build that network? From what I hear, people seem to be thinking that they will be operational a year from now. I don’t think so,” PLDT chief corporate services officer Ray Espinosa said.

“For them to achieve the minimum speed or the average speed that they have committed, and the 33 to 34 percent coverage that they also committed, it will take them several years before they can put that network in place and become operational. By our estimation, it would be optimistic if they can have that network in place in two years, maybe around three years because just like us, they will have to look for sites for their towers, for antennas, etc.,” Espinosa said.

Rio, however, refuted PLDT’s comments, expressing confidence that whoever is the chosen third telco player would have to deliver on its commitments, otherwise it will have plenty to lose.

“PLDT did not do that, they did not have commitments and they didn’t gamble money if they were not able to do the commitments. So what do they know about having a commitment with a big stake which they could lose? They don’t know that. This is the first time we are requiring a telco to have a commitment, and put their money where their mouth is. PLDT never experienced that so how can they say that to this incoming telco?” he said.

Rio was referring to the P14-billion performance bond required of the third telco player, which would be taken by the government should it fail to deliver its commitments, along with the frequencies that will be awarded to it.

Last Wednesday, the Mislatel consortium was declared as the provisional new major player in the country’s telecommunications industry.

It has committed a network coverage of 84 percent of the population after five years with total investments of P257 billion.



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