ANOTHER foreign telecommunications company has expressed interest in establishing operations in the Philippines, a Palace official said Tuesday, January 9.

Communications Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar said that apart from Beijing's China Telecom, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) and its South Korean telecommunications partner are mulling to enter the country's telecommunications industry.

This, Andanar said, was mentioned by acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. during a Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace last Monday, January 8.

"For the 21st Cabinet meeting and first Cabinet meeting this year, DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) acting Secretary Rio mentioned that two firms are interested so far to become the third player in our telecommunications industry," he said in a radio interview.

"First, it's the China telecom and the consortium that has yet to be announced; and second in the list is the PT&T group and its partner, a Korean telecom company," he added.

In November last year, Duterte offered China to become a key player in the Philippines' telecommunications industry.

A month after he made the offer, the President instructed the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission to fast-track the approval of China Telecom's application as third telecommunications provider.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte was expecting that China would begin its operation by first quarter of 2018.

Andanar gave assurance that the government is committed to pushing for the entry of a new player to make the local telecommunications industry "competitive."

"The DICT is making it fast to make our telecommunications industry competitive," he said.

He also said that pending the third telecommunications provider's entry, the two major players in the country, Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc., joined the government in its objective to spur competition and improve service.

The Communications chief noted that the PLDT would pour in some P58 billion while Globe would put billion in additional investments.

"We can really see that even just the announcement itself has encourage two telco giants to invest money to improve their services. So that in it self is already victory for the Filipino people," Andanar said. (SunStar Philippines)