Final criteria for 3rd telco player: faster internet, less capital

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — The government's final rules on the selection of the next major telecommunications player put a premium on faster internet speed and less on capital.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology, in its latest memorandum circular, raised the minimum average broadband speed to 25 percent, from 20 percent in its previous draft rules.

Capital and operating expenditure now only accounts for 35 percent of the criteria, compared with the previous 40 percent. However, national population coverage remains at 40 percent.

Other qualifications remain: interested firms must not be related to either PLDT or Globe Telecom, and must have no pending liabilities to government as of October 1, a paid-up capital of at least P10 billion, and 10 years of experience in the service.

The new major player must post a performance security in favor of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which will be maintained at 10 percent of its capital.

The rules also state the new player must submit a quarterly report which will include number of subscribers, rollout of the service and spectrum, geographic information of their infrastructures, list of cell towers, among others.

If the third telco player fails to comply with these commitments, they forfeit the performance security and they must return assigned radio frequencies to the NTC.

President Rodrigo Duterte promised the third player would be finalized by the end of the year.

The list of possible bidders, according to Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio, include Filipino companies PT&T, Converge, Now, Easy Call, and Trans-pacific Broadband and international firms China telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus from South Korea, Viettel from Vietnam, and Telenor from Norway.