Losing telco bidders lukewarm to Mislatel partnership
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Third telco aspirants and losing bidders are lukewarm to Mislatel consortium’s invitation to partner with them to fast-track the rollout of its commitments that will benefit Filipino consumers who have been clamoring for better services.

Officials from various companies polled by The STAR were not enthusiastic when asked about Mislatel’s invitation on Monday to collaborate and “use their existing telecommunications facilities for a faster rollout.”

“They have a case with us, right?” PT&T executive vice president Renato Garcia said, referring to the company’s case filed before the Supreme Court last Friday to void the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)’s decision disqualifying its bid in the third telco player selection.

PT&T also impleaded the Mislatel consortium as respondents in its petition saying that the corporations constituting the said consortium “are real parties in interest as defined under the rules of court.”

“We’ll see how the case progresses,” added PT&T president James Velasquez.

For his part, politician Luis “Chavit” Singson of the SEAR Telecommunications Consortium said: “We will not allow that (partnership with Mislatel) because from the very beginning they are disqualified.”

The SEAR group , which claims Mislatel breached a contract with one of its members, also intends to pursue filing a case in an appropriate court after its motion for reconsideration with the NTC selection committee was denied last week.

Meanwhile, Pampanga’s Dennis Uy of Converge ICT, a company that was supposed to partner with Korea’s KT for a third telco bid, said his firm’s decision would depend on the kind of collaboration Mislatel would propose.

“Let us see what is the proposal,” he said.

In a social media post over the weekend, Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said one of the best ways Mislatel could comply with its commitments is to use all existing facilities and services of other small players, such as the tens of thousand kilometers of fiber optic cables of PT&T and Converge ICT and the satellite network of Singson’s SEAR.

On Monday night, upon receiving the NTC’s confirmation order as the new major player, the Mislatel consortium, composed of Udenna Corp., Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., China Telecom, and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc., extended its hand to telco players that did not win the bid or decided not to bid to partner with the group as it embarks on accomplishing its commitments.

“We’d like to invite all the stakeholders to work with us. Whether you’re in government, private sector, or in fact even those bidders, who either lost the bidding or decided not to bid, we invite you to work with us. Companies like PT&T and Converge, let us partner, we will use your telecommunications resources for a faster rollout,” Mislatel consortium spokesperson Adel Tamano said.

“Now that we are officially the new major player, we are reaching out to all players. We want to work with you. We want to partner with you because we believe that the challenges of really improving the telco sector in our country is so large. We don’t want to waste time fighting with people, we want to work together,” Tamano said.

The Mislatel consortium has committed to increase basic internet speed to 55 mbps and cover more than 80 percent of the country’s population over a five-year period through a P257 billion total investment.

“In fact, even our competitors, Globe and Smart, we are ready to partner with you for the use of your tower facilities. As we build our tower facilities, you can work with us because we share a common goal of better communication services for the Philippines. We want to be a positive force of change in the telecommunications sector,” Tamano said.

Tamano said the group intends to put up 10,000 towers over the five-year period, depending on what legal framework is allowed by the government.

As for the statements previously expressed by PLDT and Globe officials doubting their capabilities to deliver their commitments in the first two years, Tamano said technology and the situation are different now from what it was in the past.

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