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March 13, 2019

(Continued from Part 1,  Part 2)


Competition does not happen overnight. Or, in this case, competition does not happen in one year.

President Duterte had wanted a third telco to be up and about by March 2018. 

Today, a year after that (impossible) deadline was given, a third telco has been named but seems far from operating.

Compared to other countries where awarding a telco license is often a simple, administrative process, the Philippines’ selection process was a spectacle to behold.

NTC declared the Mislatel consortium, made up of... MORE

January 21, 2019

Continued from Part 1

While the selection of a third telco for the Philippines is a positive step moving forward, ICT advocates believe that simultaneous reforms in the policy and regulatory environment will result in longer term benefits and greater impact.

Reforms in Philippine internet should (1) bring in much-needed competition—not only from big telcos but from a diverse set of service providers (including small players, such as ISPs, cable TV operators, community networks) and (2) provide clear and predictable rules and regulations that will make broadband network... MORE

December 21, 2018

In October 2016, I asked in my blog: Does the Philippines need a third telco? My answer was “a resounding yes.”

So, you could imagine how delighted I was that the Department of ICT, under the leadership of Acting Sec. Eliseo Rio, Jr., immediately acted on President Duterte’s marching orders to bring in a third challenger to the telecommunications market.

The much-celebrated selection process for the Philippines’ third telco was finally carried out—and successfully I would add.

Everything was consultative and transparent from the start. The draft terms of reference... MORE

June 14, 2018

Part 3 in a series (Part 1,  Part 2)

It’s been five months since the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) issued the policy guidelines for the entry of a new major player (NMP) in the telecommunications industry, and four months since the National Telecommunications Commission issued the draft memorandum circular on the rules and regulations on the NMP selection process. And yet, a third telco has yet to be named.

What has happened since January when the president announced that he wanted a third telco “up and about” by early 2018?

In... MORE

March 27, 2018

(Second part of a series)

The telecom sector was abuzz the past few months over the selection of a third telco. The President’s order was clear: a third player should be up and running by March to compete with the duopoly. But where’s the third telco now?

In all fairness to the DICT and NTC, they got to work right away.

A series of stakeholders’ consultations were held in January and February. A Facebook account on the “New Major Telco Player” was opened.  But long before this, DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio, Jr. had already started the conversation and threw out... MORE

February 06, 2018

(First part of a series)

Christine, a call center agent, just finished her night shift. It’s 2pm and she can’t wait to get home to sleep. Christine tries to open the ride-sharing app on her phone, but she couldn’t enter her pick-up location. Her 3G data was wonky so she decides to walk around the block to find a good cell signal. After 10 minutes, Christine finally manages to book a ride. The app said the driver was 5 minutes away, but the car was nowhere to be found 15 minutes later. Christine sends a text to the driver to ask if he was near, but she didn’t get a reply.

... MORE

December 01, 2017

Much has been said about the landing party agreement between the Philippine government and Facebook. And most of it is quite technical.

Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), an international submarine cable consortium connecting the US to Hong Kong and Taiwan, will land a fiber optic cable in the Philippines and use the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI), a 250-km cable corridor connecting a landing station in Baler, Aurora with another one in Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union, as a redundancy route.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), a government owned... MORE

October 16, 2017

Part 2 of a two-part series

Two weeks ago, the Philippines' National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), a state-run firm, announced its plans of becoming the country’s third telco.

What exactly do we mean by “third telco”? Is it a full-service telco offering voice, SMS, and data services? Or would a data-only service provider do?

Would it suffice that the third player invests in commercially viable areas? Or should it focus instead on addressing unmet demands in the emerging markets, including the underserved and unserved areas?

Should the third player be a... MORE