Gov't to name "provisional" third telco on Nov 7 barring court decision
The government will announce a "provisional" third telco on November 7, barring an decision from the courts, Department of Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr told a Senate hearing on Monday.
Rio was referring to possible legal hurdles following a case filed by prospective bidder Now Telecom Co.'s against the National Telecommunications Commission, the state telco regulator, regarding terms of reference that imposed securities and bonds on the bidders.
Last October 12, a Manila Regional Trial Court branch denied the petition of Now Telecom Co’s to temporary halt the selection for a third player in the telecommunication sector.
Presiding Judge Dinnah Aguila-Topacio of Manila RTC Branch 42 denied the petition of Now Telecom’s for issuance of a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) for “lack of urgency in the meantime justifying such a provisional remedy.”
The court set the hearing for preliminary prohibitionary injunction on October 23 and 24.
Now Telecom alleged the rules violate existing laws, but could also be declared onerous, confiscatory, and potentially extortionary.
China Telecom, Mobiltel Holdings GmBH, Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., the joint venture of businessman Chavit Singson’s LSC Group of Companies and TierOne Communications; Norway’s Telenor Group and an undisclosed firm had purchased bid documents.
Senator Grace Poe expressed hopes the much-awaited entry of a new major telco player will mean more choices for Filipinos and will bring down rates and improve services.
Poe said third telco participants must have a legislative franchise to operate.
Rio said three of eight bidders are foreign firms, with one of them even bigger than Smart and Globe combined.
Poe said national security concerns need to be seriously considered in the selection of the third telco amid spying fears on the government and Filipino citizens.
Poe said the third telco must hurdle security evaluations and should not pose as a national security threat. DMS