3rd telco: 4 foreign bidders bigger than PH firms
Among the companies bidding to become the country’s third telecommunications player are four foreign firms, according to Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr.
Speaking in Davao City, Rio said the four foreign firms were China Telecom Corp., Telenor of Norway, Mobitel of Austria and Koreatel of South Korea.
According to Rio, the four companies were each bigger than the two telecommunications giants in control of the country’s internet and phone services—Smart-PLDT and Globe.
Rio said the name of the winning bidder would be announced on Nov. 7.
“On that day, we will have a third telco at least in name,” he said.
At a bid conference on Oct. 8, Rio said at least five companies bought bidding documents worth up to P1 million per set.
The government, he said, will allow bidders to join until Nov. 7.
On that day, Rio said, the Department of Information and Communications Technology will open sealed bids.
The winner, however, “should be able to surpass and compete with Smart and Globe,” Rio added.
“Right now there is no competition so we set a very high standard for the third telco player,” he said.
He said the government was looking for a third player, which would not sell off its stake to either Smart or Globe.
If the winner does that, Rio said, the company should “return to us the frequency and we will look for other telcos.”
Rio brushed off speculation that the government had been delaying the selection process.
He said prospective bidders already knew and studied guidelines set by the government during six public forums held before Oct. 6.
He said the Nov. 7 deadline for the bidding was final.
The third player would be picked based on these criteria—high level of service and financial and technical capability.
Other companies that have expressed interest in the bidding included the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Now Corp., Converge ICT Solutions, TransPacific Broadband Group International Inc. and EasyCall Communications Philippines.
A company owned by the family of former Sen. Manuel Villar was expected to join the fray after it was given a national franchise to operate internet and phone services. —JUDY QUIROS
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