PCC appeals block on SMC-PLDT-Globe probe

Philippines antitrust regulator the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has filed a last minute Supreme Court appeal against a court decision barring it from investigating the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation's (SMC) telecoms assets by operators Globe and PLDT.

The regulator has filed an appeal against the decision by the Court of Appeals on the last day it was able to do so, GMA News Online reported.

The Court of Appeals in October upheld a ruling that the 69.1 billion peso joint acquisition of conglomerate SMC's telecoms assets was legal. The PCC has disagreed and is now challenging the decision.

The acquisition, which was completed in June, saw PLDT and Globe acquire assets including spectrum in the 900-MHz, 1800-MHz, 2300-MHz, 2500-MHz bands, as well as the top prize: coveted 700-MHz spectrum.

Both operators have already been integrating this spectrum into their operations, so the acquisition would be difficult to wind back even if the PCC gets its way and the review finds the acquisition to be in breach of competition law. 

The move came shortly after China Telecom was selected by the Chinese government to enter the Philippine telecoms industry as a third player to challenge the PLTD-Globe duopoly, potentially in partnership with Philippine Telegraph & Telephone (PT&T).  

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