WE welcome the government’s selection of a third telecommunications player that is expected to help boost the country’s mobile Internet services. We are counting on the newcomer to compete brutally with the nation’s two dominant players in delivering faster mobile Internet connection speeds at a lower price.
Following a bidding process, government regulators declared the Mislatel consortium as the provisional third player in a market long accused of being un-competitive and ruled by the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.
The consortium is composed of local tycoon 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.
As for potential security risks with China Telecom in play as the newcomer’s foreign partner, we say risks are everywhere. And we have regulators precisely to manage those risks. Besides, both PLDT and Globe are already at least 40 percent owned by foreign entities.
First Pacific Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong and NTT DOCOMO Inc., the dominant mobile phone operator in Japan, have large direct equity stakes in PLDT. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., the largest mobile network operator in Singapore, 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.--Rep. Luis N. Campos Jr. of Makati City