Philippines' SMC likely to keep 700-MHz spectrum

30 Nov 2015

Philippines conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is likely to be allowed to hold on to its 700-MHz spectrum, after regulator NTC indicated it is leaning towards siding with the group over a dispute over the airwaves.

The head of the NTC's regulatory division Edgardo Cabarios told reporters last week that it would be difficult to recall and reassign the spectrum, as requested by incumbent operators PLDT and Globe Telecom, the Inquirerreported.

He indicated that there needs to be a good reason to recall the spectrum, such as if it has not been used or the holder has not been paying the required fees.

SMC's telecom operations are up to date with their payments and has acquired permits to purchase mobile network equipment, the report states.

Globe and PLDT have been urging the NTC to assign a portion of the band to them to allow them to improve the market's notoriously slow internet speeds.

SMC acquired the rights to nearly all of the 700-MHz band via its Wi Tribe and High Telecommunication units. The company is in talks with Australia's Telstra over a joint venture with the potential to shake up the nation's mobile market, although neither company has yet confirmed whether they plan to enter such a deal.

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