Philippines courts China to break telco duopoly

21 Nov 2017

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has offered China the chance to become his nation's third operator to finally break the PLDT-Globe Telecom duopoly.

Duterte made the officer to Chinese premier Li Keqiang during an official visit to China, Reutersreported, citing a Philippines government spokesperson.

The Philippines government has repeatedly attempted to introduce new competition to the telecoms market, and last year warned PLDT and Globe to improve their notoriously slow internet speeds or face new competition.

According to the report, no specific Chinese company has been suggested for the role, but China is considered a good match due to its proximity and its strong financial and technological position.

But the government's efforts to attract a foreign player could be foiled by the clause in the Philippines constitution that limits foreign ownership in domestic operators at just 40%. This could make the investment a less attractive prospect for overseas companies despite the size of the local market.

As well as attracting a foreign entrant, there have been proposals that the government establish a state-owned operator, while the state-owned National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) has announced its ambition of becoming the nation's “third telco”.

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