Philippines approaches Vodafone over potential third telco bid

04 Oct 2018

The Philippines government has approached Vodafone Group with the possibility of entering the market as the nation’s third telco.

An official from the Department of Budget and Management announced at a press briefing that he had met with Vodafone officials during a visit to London last week to inform them of the government’s plan to introduce a third market entrant to break up the Globe-PLDT duopoly, the Philippine Star reported.

The official said that Vodafone “appeared interested” but stressed that no decision has yet been made. Vodafone is now conducting due diligence on a potential bid. But he also suggested that Vodafone could still enter the market even after a third player has been selected.

The government has been trying for some time to introduce fresh competition into the Philippines telecoms market in an attempt to reduce prices and improve services for consumers, and has been preparing to conduct a “beauty contest” style selection process for the new entrant.

After multiple delays, the nation’s telecoms ministry and regulator published the terms of this selection process last month, and plans to commence the sale of bid documents this week.

Other international operators that have been said to have reported an interest in participating in the auction include China Telecom, South Korea’s LG Uplus, Japan’s KDDI, Vietnam’s Viettel, US-based AT&T and Norway’s Telenor.

The winning applicant will need to find at least one local partner for the venture to comply with the nation’s rules limiting foreign ownership of telecoms operators, with Philippine Telegraph and Telephone among the local entrants having expressed an interest in the venture.

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