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Grace Mirandilla-Santos

March 15, 2017

Last week, the Philippines had its first Telecommunications Summit organized by the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology.

I was given the great opportunity and daunting task of presenting the top consumer issues on telecoms. As expected, the discussion revolved around internet service, particularly access, quality, and cost.

Although I’m very passionate about consumer woes—and it’s very easy to get carried away—I showed the results of studies and analyses by third (mostly disinterested) parties, as researchers are wont to do.

I... MORE

January 26, 2017

(Continued from part 1)

Perhaps the Philippines can take away a thing or two from the National Broadband Plans (NBPs) of other countries who are enjoying better internet service.

NBPs often have specific targets that can be realistically achieved and measured in a specific time period.

Indonesia’s Broadband Plan 2014-2019, for example, targets to expand fixed broadband penetration from 15% of households (HH) at 1Mbps in 2013 to 71% of HH in urban areas at 20Mbps and 49% of HH in rural areas at 10Mbps in 2019. For mobile broadband, the target is to cover 100% of the... MORE

January 04, 2017

(Part 1 of a two-part series)

In Akamai’s Q3 2016 State of the Internet report, the Philippines once again recorded one of the slowest average connection speeds for fixed broadband. It placed second to India, a country which obviously has way more people to connect and a lot more land area to cover.

So what’s new? Unfortunately for Filipino netizens, the latest report showed the speed of Philippine broadband even slowed down a little bit more, posting a -2.8% change from the previous quarter. As if being kulelat, a Filipino term for players who finish last in a game, wasn’t... MORE

October 28, 2016

The answer is a resounding yes. The country needs a third, even fourth or fifth telco. It needs the presence of challengers that will put the dominant telcos on their toes again, much the same way that the new players did to PLDT over two decades ago when the telecommunications market was finally opened up to competition.

The Philippines’ telecommunications sector is ripe for new investments. It has 110 million people, most of whom have a mobile phone. Only 41% of Filipinos, however, have access to the internet—this, 20 years after it became commercially available in the country.... MORE

July 13, 2016

Just a few months after it was formed, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) was already faced with its first, and possibly toughest, test case. And what better way to put its mandate and effectiveness to the test than in telecommunications, one of the country’s most profitable sectors that, despite deregulation and liberalization, remains to be dominated by only two players, PLDT and Globe. Call it naiveté of a newbie watchdog, but it’s refreshing to see a government regulator put its foot down despite pressure from the powerful telcos and their allies—something the country has not... MORE

June 21, 2016

A few weeks before Rodrigo Duterte, whose campaign slogan reads “change is coming,” sits as the new president, PLDT and Globe appear to be in a mad rush to, well, change their business strategy and corporate messaging.

The incumbent telcos are doing, in a span of four months, what they could not or did not want to do over the past decade!

Back in March, after San Miguel Corporation’s talks with Telstra fell through, it was reported that PLDT and Globe began negotiations with the giant conglomerate to acquire the latter’s telco assets.

Towards the end of May, PLDT... MORE

June 07, 2016

After the much-hyped negotiations of San Miguel Corporation with potential foreign partners, the awaited third telco ended up selling its assets to PLDT and Globe . The sale dampens any hope of a new market player anytime soon. It also quashes any doubt that the duopoly will idly stand by and allow potential investors to enter their turf.

It was a deal for the books, with the two telco giants, usually at odds with each other, deciding to purchase shares from a potential competitor 50-50. The buyout price is a staggering $1.5 billion (69.1 billion pesos), $500 million short of the... MORE

May 30, 2016

The Philippines now has a Department of Information and Communications Technology. It actually came as a surprise to many when President Aquino signed Republic Act 10844 creating the Department on May 23, over a month after his term ended.

A separate ICT department never had the support of the President. In numerous occasions, President Aquino reiterated that he saw no need for such, and that his administration would not support any move to create an added layer of bureaucracy.

For a conservative, predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines signed a Reproductive Health... MORE

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