Higher paid-up capital eyed for 3rd telco player

Prospective challengers to the Globe-PLDT duopoly may have to comply with a higher paid-up capital requirement of more than P10 billion, a senior government official said on Friday.

Eliseo Rio, officer in charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the proposed provision would allow the third telco to mount an aggressive rollout.

“Kung ang paid-up capital mo is P10 billion and you need to roll out kaagad in the first year … maraming nagsasabi baka kulang yan (If your paid-up capital is P10 billion and you need to roll out immediately, many are saying that might not be enough),” he told reporters.

Rio noted that Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. were investing heavily on capital spending per year. For 2018, Globe and PLDT have earmarked $850 million (around P42.5 billion) and P58 billion, respectively.

Strong finances and technical clout remain the main factors in selecting a new player, he stressed, noting that a lack of a partner had even forced conglomerate San Miguel Corp. to abandon its telco ambitions and sell to Globe and PLDT.

An oversight committee established to draw up the terms of reference for the third telco player was to meet later on Friday.

The DICT last week said that the committee had identified four major points that would have to be addressed: concerns over the frequency spectrum, establishment of a common tower policy, commercialization of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and National Tranmission Corp.’s unused fiber assets and the lowering of interconnection rates.

It said a new telco player could still be named before the end of the year.

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