Dominguez: Gov't should focus on regulating telco industry, not on 3rd player

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — The government should focus on developing a stronger regulation on the country's telecommunications (telco) industry instead of looking for a new major player, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

Citing a media report, Dominguez on Wednesday said the regulation on the local telco industry "is not up to par."

"Either it's the law or the regulators, okay. So maybe, as I said in the past, maybe that is one of the issues we have to address first--the effectivity of the regulation. Because even if we have a third telco and the regulation is ineffective, what's the point? So again, we have to go down to the basic issues on the industry," he said in a media forum.

Having a third telco player is just a "means to an end," Dominguez said.

"The question is not the third telco. The question is, when are we going to improve? Third telco is one way of improving it. The other way is to have a better regulatory environment and I think that is the priority rather than a third telco," he said.

"Maybe you need a new law, I don't know. I think you need to have a total review of that. The question is, are we totally fixated on the means or the end?" he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the search for a company that will compete with incumbents Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc. amid public clamour on slow internet services.

In April, Duterte formed an oversight committee that would facilitate the entry of a new player. The committee is composed of different agencies, including the Department of Finance and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Just recently, DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said the committee may announce the next major player by December.

CNN Philippines' Robert Vergara and Frances Espeso contributed to this report.