The Mislatel Consortium is looking to launch commercial services in the Philippines by late 2020 and plans to cover 17 major cities within two years of this.
In November last year, the consortium was awarded an operating licence and is on track to become the country’s third major player. It has now presented its deployment plan to a Senate committee, detailing its plan to conduct trials within a year of receiving the necessary approvals.
BusinessWorld reported that Mislatel expects the trials to last 6 months, so the operator could begin offering commercial services by around November 2020. It aims to cover 37% of the population within a year of launch. After five years of operation it expects to have 8,000 active base stations across the Philippines, covering 84% of the population.
However, a Senate hearing last week cast doubt over Mislatel’s suitability as an operator, alleging that the operator would be violating the terms of its agreement if it failed to launch within a year of receiving its licence.
The consortium is made up of Chelsea Logistics Holdings, China Telecom, Udenna Corp and Mindanao Islamic Telephone – known as Mislatel – which first began operating a telecoms franchise in 1998.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed its faith in the Philippines’ Congress to reach a decision over Mislatel, saying: “We are confident that our representatives from both Houses would keep the public interest in mind in resolving the matter.”
Nonetheless, the Philippine Competition Commission has approved Mislatel’s bidding agreement implementation, and the agreement’s terms have been cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The consortium must now submit its finalised deployment plans to the National Telecommunications Commission by 17th February. If the plans are approved following a 15 day evaluation period, Mislatel will then be required to pay a PHP25 billion ($476 million) performance bond.