The Philippines’ Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has ruled in favour of allowing NOW Telecom to use a 220MHz allocation of spectrum to deliver 5G and fixed wireless services.
In September 2020, the operator - which is backed by NOW Corp - was granted a Cellular Mobile Telephone Systems (CMTS) concession permitting it to build and operate a network in the Philippines. However, since it lacked the required spectrum holding to enable this, it has since extended its provisional authority for the network.
As reported by TeleGeography, in March 2021 ARTA instructed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to allocate NOW Telecom a suitable spectrum holding to operate using its CMTS licence, noting that the regulator had thus far failed to approve or deny NOW an “assignment of concomitant frequencies for the exercise of its CMTS provisional authority since January 2006 despite submission of all required documents and payment of all required fees and charges, and the issuance of the said provisional authority and the extension thereof.”
At the time, ARTA stated: “Under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 11302 (Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018), the said application or request for assignment of concomitant frequencies for the exercise of NOW Telecom’s CMTS PA as attested to in NOW Telecom’s affidavit of completeness is hereby declared complete, and is now deemed automatically approved by operation of law.”
The Manila Standard reports that on 3rd February 2022, ARTA affirmed this assessment, granting NOW its spectrum allocation. NOW Telecom president Rene Rosales said: “With the recent ARTA ruling, NOW Telecom will be able to continue pursuing its mobile broadband services aspirations that have been hampered for more than 16 years due to the lack of sufficient frequencies to operate. NOW Telecom has been a holder of a CMTS Provisional Authority alongside Smart Telecommunications and Globe Telecom prior to the third telco bidding.”