Preferential treatment for 3rd telco player ‘absolutely’ justified, says solon

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to give the country’s third telecommunications player the best possible preferential treatment is “absolutely justified” to give Filipinos access to faster and cheaper Internet connection speeds, Makati City representative Luis Campos Jr. said on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. Photo credit: from his Facebook page

“Public interest dictates the preferential treatment. We have to enable the new entrant to quickly roll out its network for the benefit of consumers, who for years have had no choice but to endure the inadequate and costly Internet services being supplied by the two players,” Campos said.

“The State, in going out of its way to accommodate the third player, is in fact merely fulfilling its duty to foster stronger and freer market competition,” Campos said in a statement.

Malacañang has ordered all agencies — from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) down to local governments — to expedite the grant of all licenses and permits needed by the new entrant.

Without the president’s directive, Campos said the third player would face numerous hurdles, including potential delays in securing licenses and regulatory approvals to form the new telecommunications company.

All told, the new entrant may have to spend up to P125 billion over the next three years to be in a position to effectively compete with PLDT and Globe Telecom, according to market analysts.

“Having real competition in three years, or before the President’s term ends in 2022, is definitely better than having no foreseeable competition at all,” Campos said.

The lawmaker played down the potential foreign role in the new player, which is widely believed to involve a Chinese entity. Both PLDT and Globe are already substantially, or up to 40 percent, owned by foreigners, he said.

The preferential treatment is expected to extend to the fourth, fifth and sixth players, considering that the president had earlier indicated that he wants the market to eventually have up to six participants, according to Campos.

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