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NTC sees no hitches in third telco selection

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said the bidding for the third player in the country’s telecommunications industry will proceed as scheduled on Nov. 7 without any hitches.

Rio said as soon as all the sealed bids were opened and placed side-by-side on Nov. 7, the government could provisionally name the firm that submitted the highest committed level of service among all bidders.

“We do not see any hitches,” Rio said on the possibility of encountering another delay in the bidding process, which the government put together for a year to consult all stakeholders to come up with reasonable terms of reference.

“In fact, on Nov. 7 at 10 in the morning, we will open all the bidding documents and we will know who will be our provisional third telco provider,” Rio said.

The DICT said the terms of reference would bind the winning bidder to the quality of service it committed in its pitch to become the third telco operator. He said with more competition in the market, the existing players would also step up their efforts to retain their subscribers.

“We will be monitoring their commitment because it is through their service that the third telco can build their subscriber base. The only way for them to get subscribers is to give better service and lower subscription cost than the existing players,” Rio said.

“Of course, market forces will be in play, resulting to better service and lower costs, which the public will benefit overall,” he said.

The terms of reference also include a performance bond, which the government could forfeit if the winning bidder failed to maintain their committed level of service to its subscribers, according to Rio. He said the bond is “at least P14 billion.”

The bond is among the issues assailed by Now Telecom when it sought a temporary restraining order on Oct. 8 against portions of the terms of reference.

The court denied the petition of the firm, saying “there is practically nothing to enjoin that will warrant the grant of obtaining such injunctive relief from this court at this time.”

Rio said the terms of reference had been put together that way to ensure that only serious bidders with sufficient capital could participate in the bidding process. 

The third telco is projected to spend P40 billion in the first year and P240 billion in the succeeding five years, the DICT estimates showed.

Topics: NTC , telecommunications industry , Department of Information and Communications Technology
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