The government of the Philippines has established an oversight committee to ensure that the introduction of a third player to the country’s mobile market is “undertaken in an integrated and transparent manner”.
The committee will help the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) to set out the terms of choosing and allocating spectrum for the new player, as well as overseeing its entry into the market. The Philippines’ mobile space is effectively a duopoly between Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, with each having a market share of around 50%.
The order to create the committee notes that the entry of a third operator into the market is “a matter of paramount national interest” as “by ensuring genuine competition in the country’s telecommunications industry”, the Philippines will be able to deliver “reliable, inexpensive and secure telecommunications services in the country”. Telecoms services in the country are some of the most expensive in Southeast Asia.
The committee will contain members from various government departments. Its chair will belong to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), with the vice chair coming from the Department of Finance, and other members from the Office of the Executive Secretary and National Security Adviser.
In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte warned Globe and Smart that he would allow companies from China to begin competing in the Philippines unless they improved their notoriously poor service. He made good on this threat in late 2017, with China Telecom being named as the company that would set up a third operator in the market. In February this year, DICT issued proposals for choosing a third operator and held public consultation over these in March.