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Philippines’ Ready to Meet Third Telco Player

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Foreign telco investors from China and Austria were the latest to procure bid documents for the selection process to enter as Philippines’ third telecom player.

Other companies Telenor and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T) were already ready for the selection process before the latest batch.

Last year, China Telecom was approached by President Rodrigo Duterte with the chance of winning the third telco license. That was before the selection process was implemented by the government.

China Telecom is considered to be the Philippines’ second-largest carrier by revenue and therefore is most likely to become the third telecom carrier. Though it has not yet been decided, as the selection process is still on-going.

Meanwhile, the duopoly of Globe and PLDT are riddled with complaints all over the country for poor internet speed and prompted the President to be on the hunt for the third player. Globe Telecom is a unit of Singapore Telecommunications Singtel, while the latter is backed by Indonesia’s Salim Group and Japan’s NTT group.

Relations with China and the Philippines are strained and security concerns have been voiced out for allowing a Chinese company to be granted a license.

China Telecom chairman and CEO Yang Jie responded by reminding them that in network building, the Philippines and many other countries extremely welcome foreign investors and that such an expansion abroad is for mutual supplementation and benefits.

The official application process for the selection has not yet begun for China Telecom, and within this time they will try to further understand the deal and communicate with the Philippines.

Any of these companies that would win will have to establish a joint venture with local companies in order to comply with Philippines’ restrictions on foreign ownership.