Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to break up the market's telecoms duopoly if incumbent operators Globe and PLDT do not improve their services.
Duterte has indicated he may bring in competitors from China unless consumer complaints about poor service quality and slow internet speeds are addressed, the Manila Timesreported.
According to sources quoted in the report, when Australia's Telstra tried to enter the Philippines market last year, the company was met with a hostile reception from the former Aquino administration, with the company told that the president supports PLDT and Globe and that cases seeking to delay its entry into the market will be filed in court.
But Duterte has by contrast taken a more antagonistic approach to the oligarchs controlling PLDT and Globe, and is more receptive to disrupting the duopoly.
China's state-owned operators are likely to jump at the chance to enter the Philippines market, and if the Philippine Competition Commission blocks the planned sale of conglomerate San Miguel Corp's 700-MHz spectrum to Globe and PLDT, Chinese operators would have a go-to partner for a Philippine venture.
Philippine consumers have long complained about the market's slow internet speeds. Akamai's recent State of the Internet report measures the Philippines' average speed at 4.3Mbps, well below the global average of 6.1Mbps.