DAVAO

Editorial: Still a long time

WHILE many celebrated the recent progress of the entry of a third telecommunications company, it will still be a long time before the whole country can enjoy better telecommunications services.

On November 7, out of 10 parties which have bought Selection Documents from the NTC, only three submitted their bid documents -- Mislatel Consortium, Sear Telecom-Tier1 Consortium, and the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T).

However, it was only Mislatel that qualified during the opening of bids on November 7. Eventually, Mislatel was declared the provisional New Major Player (NMP) in the telecommunications industry by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The consortium is a partnership between Davao businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom) and is composed of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation, and China Telecom.

It was reported by SunStar Philippines that Sear Telecom-Tier1 were disqualified because of their failure to submit the P700-million participation security while PT&T was disqualified because it failed to submit a Certification of Technical Capability from NTC.

The two disqualified bidders were given three days to submit their motions for reconsideration and still have a fighting chance to be a third telecommunications player in the country.

However, the declaration of Mislatel Consortium was also met with questions especially on its eligibility and validity to be the third telecommunications player.

Infrawatch PH said in a statement that they are calling for the disqualification of Mislatel "due to the failure of its telco consortium partner Mislatel to comply with its one of the requirements of its congressional franchise: joining any securities exchange like the Philippine stock market five years from receiving its franchise in 1998."

"The public needs to know that the franchise of Mislatel is non-operational. In fact, it has been automatically revoked in 2003 for its failure to join the stock market. We have checked the list of companies currently in the PSE, there is no publicly traded entity named Mislacom,” Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor.

It took a while to look for the third telecommunications player that will end the duopoly of Globe and Smart. With the recent developments and should one of the two disqualified bidders' motions for reconsideration, we can expect that the entry of the third telecommunications company will take longer.

Why is the NTC and the DICT dragging the whole process of the entry of the third telecommunications company? This makes them look like that they have vested interests in the two telecommunications giant. Let us hope not.

When the third telecommunication company does enter in the future, they will still have to put up infrastructure to be able to deliver services to their potential clients.

This can only mean that despite the developments, the Philippines will continue to suffer slow internet speed and inefficient telecommunications services.


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