UK operator Vodafone ‘interested’ in PH market, says Diokno

Officials of United Kingdom-based telecommunication company Vodafone “appear interested” to explore the Philippine market after they were told that government is now laying the groundwork for the entry of a third telco player.

DBM secretary Benjamin Diokno

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Benjamin Diokno, during Wednesday’s “Breakfast with Ben” press briefing, said the meeting with Vodafone executives in the telco firm’s headquarters were among the highlights of the Philippine economic team’s trip to London last week.

“We just discussed the possibilities and told them that we’re introducing third telco player and that we’re welcoming proposals,” he said.

Among the questions asked by the telco player executives are ownership rules, ease of doing business, and pending measures in Congress, he said. “They asked many questions because it is the biggest telco company in the world. They want to make sure that we’ll protect their reputation,” he said.

Earlier, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said they will identify the third telco player by December.

He said companies interested to apply as the third telco player have been conducting their due diligence since February this year. DICT is scheduled to conduct an invitation to bid on October 7 while bidding documents can be bought on October 8. Deadline for the submission and opening of bids is on November 7.

Asked if Vodafone will participate in the public bidding, Diokno said it is premature to speculate.

“They’re making their due diligence and they’ll probably find out if it’s worth their while to participate. That’s the usual stance of businessmen,” he said, citing also that it is “possible” for Vodafone to come in even after the third telco has been identified.

He said the foreign telco company has a tie-up with one of the local players but only on a small scale. “But they don’t like that kind of arrangement anymore. They want to come in a big way if ever they will come,” he added. — Joann Villanueva (PNA)

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