Saturday, April 13, 2024

Globe, Smart ready to confront Dito in PCC probe

Dominant telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are ready battle it out against upstart rival Dito Telecommunity at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) after the anti-trust agency said on Friday, Aug. 26, that it is opening an investigation based on the complaint filed by the Dennis Uy-owned operator.

The PCC said that it found reasonable grounds to launch a preliminary inquiry into the complaints filed by Dito for abuse of dominance against Globe and Smart.

The PCC Enforcement Office (CEO) said it will look into the allegations in the complaints for possible violations of Section 15 of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) pertaining to abuse of dominance. The CEO will also study whether other violations of the PCA pertaining to anti-competitive agreements have been committed, the agency said.

As it proceeds with the investigation, the PCC said it will coordinate and consult with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and other relevant authorities for regulatory and technical considerations.

“The PCC takes complaints of anti-competitive behavior very seriously. Without prejudging the outcome of the CEO’s investigation, the PCC reminds players with substantial market power, not only in the telecommunications industry but across sectors, of their responsibility to compete fairly and to adhere to the principles of competition,” the agency in statement.

Globe was quick to welcome the inquiry of the PCC in the interconnect case with Dito.

“While we have yet to receive a copy of DITO’s complaint before the PCC, as a publicly-listed company, Globe maintains that a fair and healthy competitive environment is necessary to promote consumer welfare,” the Ayala-owned telco said.

Specifically, Globe said it welcomes the opportunity to present to the PCC how Dito violated the terms and conditions of its interconnection agreement, which prompted the filing of a previous case with the NTC.

“Likewise, we reiterate our view that this is a clear case of forum shopping since a similar case for the same issues is pending with the NTC,” Globe pointed out.

For its part, Smart said affirmed its willingness to assist and cooperate in the inquiry and express confidence that the PCC will eventually dismiss Dito’s complaint.

“Smart’s dealings with its competitors have always been animated by the spirit of fair play and good faith, because it believes that its core strength lies in its superior network and overall customer experience that have gained it millions of happy subscribers, and its actions relating to Dito are no exception,” the PLDT-owned operator said in a statement.

Smart said it takes its duty to interconnect with other telcos seriously, adding that it has invested heavily in infrastructure that secures the interconnection ecosystem, including detecting and blocking fraudulent calls emanating from its network for the protection of its own and its competitors’ subscribers.

“This is because the integrity of the country’s entire telco network infrastructure depends on all three telco players taking the necessary measures to protect their respective facilities and networks from being exploited by criminal elements and activities,” it said.

“Thus, it is only fair that for Smart to act on Dito’s request for increase in interconnection capacity, Dito must first address the serious and continuing deficiencies in its own network that have allowed criminals to abuse interconnection facilities by fraudulently masking international calls as domestic, thereby prejudicing Smart subscribers who are victimized by scams, and depriving the government of tax revenue, and Smart of toll income.”

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