China Telecom enters Philippines third telco fray

15 Oct 2018

China Telecom and Telekom Austria's Mobiltel have become the latest companies to purchase bid documents for the selection process for the Philippines' third telco player.

The operators purchased bid documents from regulator NTC on Saturday, the Philippine Starreported.

The two overseas companies have joined six others, including Norway-based Telenor and fixed line operator Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T), in purchasing the application documents for the beauty contest style section process.

China Telecom was approached by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte last year with the opportunity of being awarded the third telco license, before the government elected to hold the selection process instead.

Any overseas entity winning the third telco license will need to establish a joint venture with local companies in order to comply with the Philippines' restrictions on foreign ownership in telecoms infrastructure.

Meanwhile local company NOW Telecom, which has been vying to become the market's third telco and has been fighting a legal battle to disrupt the selection process, has had its application for a temporary restraining order against the selection process rejected by a Manila court.

The court reportedly found no basis for the restraining order on the grounds that NOW's case does not meet the requirements such as a clear right to be protected, or an urgent need for an injunction due to the risk of irreparable injury.

Bidders will have until early November to submit their bids for the selection process, which will be judged on criteria including guaranteed investment and rollout commitments.

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