DICT chief: Telcos need 700 MHz frequency to speed up PH Internet

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Saying radio frequencies should be given to entities that can best utilize it, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima said it is just proper that PLDT and Globe Telecom have acquired the highly coveted 700 MHz frequency from local conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

DICT sec. Rodolfo A. Salalima
DICT sec. Rodolfo A. Salalima

In his first public outing since being named DICT chief, Salalima noted that SMC has not used its frequency allocations in violation of the law.

?If a telco has not used the frequencies assigned to it, then those frequencies should be given to the players which can use them efficiently,? said Salalima, a former legal counsel of Globe Telecom.

Salalima, a law schoolmate of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte at San Beda College, made the pronouncement on Monday, July18, during the launch of “Roadmap 2022”, the country?s IT-BPO development plan, at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

The DICT chief said he does not share the view that the incumbent players are abusing their dominant positions in the industry by accumulating more radio spectrums.

He, however, stopped short of taking a swipe at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), which is scrutinizing the P69.1-billion deal, saying a case has already been filed at the Court of Appeals regarding the transaction.

Still, Salalima said the telcos need the frequencies to improve the Internet speed in the country. ?The public should also understand the limitations and not abuse the limited bandwidth that the telcos have,? he said.

He pointed out that the problem on broadband speed is complicated by a number of factors, among them radio frequency, cellsite capacity, and the local geography.

To further hasten the development of the telco sector, Salalima revealed he is working for an executive order that will mandate the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to resolve of cases within four months.

?The NTC should conduct trial in three months and issue the resolution within a month for a maximum of four months,? said Salalima, noting that it took the regulatory body a long time to dispose of cases during his time as Globe?s legal counsel.

The DICT chief also said he has requested for another executive order that would compel local government units to process applications for permits of telcos within three days to accelerate the installation of cellsites all over the country.

Unlike his peers in the cabinet, Salalima said he is still grappling in the dark since the DICT is a newly created agency. ?While other secretaries have hit the ground running, I have started work running scared,? he said in jest.

According to DICT executive Monchito Ibrahim, Salalima has not yet appointed undersecretaries and assistant secretaries for the department because the Civil Service Commission has yet to approve the department?s employment structure.

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