Palace no longer setting deadline on entry of 3rd telco player

President Rodrigo R. Duterte will no longer impose a deadline regarding the entry of the third telecommunications player in the country, his spokesperson said on Thursday, March 22.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte simply wants the telco carrier to be operational “as soon as possible”.

“Wala na po siyang deadline na si-net. Basta ang deadline niya (He no longer set a deadline. His deadline used to be) March, then it was not met. So as soon as possible na lang,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Duterte earlier said he wanted the third telco carrier up by March but was aware that the deadline may be pushed to give other prospective players more time to prepare bidding documents.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) earlier said the selection of a third telco carrier may have to wait until end of June or early July.

This, after the deadline for submission of bids for the third telco, which had already been moved to May 24, may have to be moved again.

Roque said that while Duterte might not necessarily be pleased about this development, it was the “reality” he had to accept. “Whether or not he’s happy, that’s the reality. What can he do?” he said.

Roque, however, said Duterte deserved credit for using political will to push for the third telco carrier to be operational.

“At least, he prompted that actual steps be undertaken leading to the announcement in June. Had he not exercised political will, we would still have bickering from the duopoly and machinations and orchestrations against the third telecoms,” Roque said.

Duterte has repeatedly said how he has had enough of the poor Internet and mobile phone services being offered by PLDT-Smart Communications and the Ayala-owned Globe Telecom.

At present, telco carriers from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and India have signified their interest to invest in the country’s telcommuncations industry. — Azer Parrocha (PNA)

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