CEBU

‘No security risks seen with China Telecom’

MAKATI City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has welcomed the government’s selection of a third telecommunications player that is expected to help boost the country’s mobile internet services.

Following a bidding process, regulators on Wednesday declared the Mislatel consortium as the provisional third player in a market long accused of being uncompetitive and ruled by the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.

The consortium is composed of Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. and subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., in partnership with China Telecommunications Corp. and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc.

“We are absolutely convinced that the consortium is in a solid position to compete with the two well-entrenched players in the market. The group has all the wherewithal needed,” Campos said.

Campos played down concerns of potential security risks with China Telecom in play as the newcomer’s foreign partner.

“Risks are everywhere, but we have regulators precisely to manage those risks,” Campos said.

“Besides, both PLDT and Globe are already at least 40 percent owned by foreign entities,” Campos pointed out.

First Pacific Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong and NTT DOCOMO Inc. of Japan have large direct equity stakes in PLDT. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. also has a substantial stake in Globe.

The Mislatel consortium has committed to invest up to P257 billion over the next five years and to deliver a minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) in its first year of operation and 55 mbps by the fifth year.

It expects to provide network coverage to 84.01 percent of the population by the fifth year.

Campos has been batting for the reclassification of internet access as a “basic telecommunications service” so that regulators may compel suppliers to provide rising connection speeds under pain of severe punitive fines.

Under House Bill 5337, Campos wants the National Telecommunications (NTC) empowered to regulate both the quality and the cost of internet access by tagging it a basic service.

Currently, the Philippine Public Telecommunications Policy Law treats internet access as a “value-added service.” PR


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