3rd telco player known by Nov. 7 — DICT chief
Barring any legal impediments, the country will have a “provisional” new major telecommunications player by November 7.
Secretary Eliseo Rio of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) gave this assurance during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on Monday.
The committee headed by Senator Grace Poe conducted an explanatory hearing on the entry of the third telco in the country.
“We are on track in fulfilling President Duterte’s desired timeline, which is to have an NMP (new major player) by November of this year,” Rio told the panel.
“In fact, we are 17 days away in fulfilling it but because of the act of one contender, we are trying our best to answer all the queries that (were) brought to the court so that these deadlines will not be derailed,” he said.
He was referring to the case filed by NOW Telecom at the Manila Regional Trial Court filed against the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over certain provisions in the terms of reference (TOR) in the selection of the third player.
NOW Telecom particularly wants the NTC to remove key portions of TOR that dealt with hefty financial commitments, calling these as “onerous, confiscatory and potentially extortionary.”
To ensure that only serious and financially capable parties would participate in the bidding, the DICT set in place stiff requirements for bidders like paying P1 million for buying bid documents, putting up a P700-million participation security and providing at least P14 billion in performance security.
The court denied the request of NOW Telecom for a temporary restraining order (TRO) after it failed to prove that its rights were violated and that there was any urgency to issue a TRO.
Rio used the hearing to defend the government saying the securities and fees in the TOR are not “money-making schemes.”
Despite the pending case, the official remained confident that the third player would be chosen by next month.
“The timeline indicated in the slide will be intact. And on November 07, we will have a provisional new major player barring any decision from the court,” Rio said. /cbb
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