Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Wednesday the process for the third telco player was transparent and fair, amid accusations by the disqualified bidders that there were irregularities in the selection process.
“There was a transparent, fair, public and open selection process, done in accordance with laws, as well as with pertinent rules and regulations,” Panelo said.
“Complying with the legal and constitutional requirements, Mislatel won over the two other bidders. Impositions in favor of the government and the end users have been made such as the requirement of performance bonds to ensure sound performance by the new player,” he added.
Meanwhile, because of the continued protests of the losing bidders, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was considering to push for the amendment of the procurement law where losing bidders could no longer delay the government’s procurement of goods and services.
On Nov. 19, the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel)—composed of the Dennis Uy-owned Udenna Corp. and subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Corp. with foreign partner China Telecommunications Corp.—was confirmed as the country’s new telco provider.
The confirmation was welcomed by a grateful public who had long wanted for even just a third telco player. Some officials, however, chose to ignore the affirmation from the public and has been inciting security fears despite repeated assurances from concerned government agencies.
The National Telecommunications Commission Memorandum Circular 09-09-2018 even issued a detailed description showing that Mislatel’s networks and facilities will not in any way compromise national security and shall abide with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) National Cybersecurity Plan.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 also created DICT’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center as its attached agency to suppress real-time commission of cybercrime offenses, among others.
The NTC also allayed fears that China telecom will bring in compromised devices, but telecommunication officials bared that both Globe and Smart are actually using Chinese telco technology.
In January, Smart’s parent company PLDT, Inc. inked a $28-million (P1.4 billion) deal to improve Smart’s “online charging and electronic loading for prepaid subscribers.”
Globe, on the other hand, signed a five-year partnership with Huawei in 2015 for planning and design of a mobile broadband network and the creation of a mobile innovation center to maintain its competitive edge.
With strict security measures by the government in place, and with Globe and Smart openly using the Chinese telecommunications-equipment, the NTC said there is no reason to fear of a hidden agenda behind China Telecom’s partnering with a local firm as the country’s third telco player.