China Telecom consortium cleared to set up third Philippines operator

China Telecom consortium cleared to set up third Philippines operator

The Mislatel consortium, which is made up of China Telecom, Chelsea Holdings and Udenna Corporation, has been chosen to found the Philippines’ third mobile operator.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) stated that the country’s regulator NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) has ratified the selection to make it official, with DICT’s acting secretary Eliseo Rio saying that the search for a third major operator was at “the end of the tunnel”.

Mislatel’s selection was confirmed after DICT threw out appeals from PT&T and another consortium led by Sear Telecom. Both had failed the first round of the original selection process after failing to provide adequate documentation, but had contested the decision.

The Philippines’ mobile market has long been dominated by two operators - Globe Telecom and PLDT’s Smart – which between them control 99.8% of the market. There is one other small player, Broadband Everywhere, and several providers that do not operate their own infrastructure.

Rio noted that “tap[ping] existing small players” such as these could be essential for Mislatel if it intends to meet its stated targets, which include hitting minimum speed requirements within a year, with a view to increasing these over the next three years, as well as spreading coverage to 84% of the country over the next five years.

If Mislatel does not fulfil these requirements, it could be fined as much as PHP25 billion ($476 million). Rio added “the ball is now on Mislatel’s court to deliver on their promise.”

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