Finance set to release criteria for third telco selection
The Finance Department expects to finalize within the week the parameters for the selection of the third telecommunications player in the country, Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said over the weekend.
Dominguez said in a statement it was the priority of the department to have a selection process that would ensure the third telecommunications player to be chosen could effectively compete in the telco market.
Dominguez said the original proposed process failed to set up parameters that would ensure that the third telco had the capability, both financial and technical, to compete in the long term.
The proposed process used “committed level of service” as the main criteria in the selection of the third player.
“I’ve expressed my concerns on the proposed process as I find the pre-qualification criteria as being weak, and I think that scoring should not be based on ‘commitments.’ You know, the beauty contest in the past resulted in frequency hoarding and those companies failed to improve service. They just made money by flipping assets government owns. I don’t want that to happen again,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the DOF was currently evaluating what pre-qualification criteria, like financial and previous telco experience, could be applied to improve the selection of the third player.
“The government should not forget what the task at hand is. The mandate of the president was not only to bring in a third telco player, but more importantly, to ensure that its entry will result to rendering of better services to the consumers at the lowest possible cost,” he said.
Dominguez, when asked about the approval of the criteria, said that “we hope to be done with this task by Friday next week.”
The Department of Information and Communications Technology tightened the general guidelines on the entry of a major telecommunications player in the country.
The DICT issued a new memorandum order on April 13, 2018 that outlined the minimum financial backing and technical requirements that the potential challenger to the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom should posses.
It also expanded the selection criteria to include companies that could provide the “highest committed level of service,” where in the past memorandum, only financial resources were considered.
The DITC said the new player should hold a congressional franchise that was not a related party to any dominant telco player. Moreover, it should have no outstanding liabilities to the National Telecommunications Commission as of Jan. 31, 2018.
It said the interested company should have a paid-in capital of at least P10 billion and experience in operating telco services “for the last five years.”