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Mislatel to receive 3rd telco permit in Malacanang.

THIRD telco player Mislatel Consortium-a group led by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy-is scheduled to finally receive its certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the government, after completing the long list of post-qualification requirements for the franchise.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary for Operations Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said the awarding of the permit to operate telco services to Mislatel will be conducted in Malacanang, as it was considered an 'achievement' by the government.

'The awarding will continue as planned and it has already been scheduled in Malacanang. The government considers this as an achievement because we have effectively introduced competition in the telco market, which was dominated by two players,' he said in a phone interview.

Rio, who led the whole third telco initiative during his time as acting DICT secretary, explained that Mislatel was able to comply with all of the post-qualification requirements set in the terms of reference for the franchise auction held in November 2018.

The post-qualification process involves: forming the official company through the Securities and Exchange Commission, getting necessary approvals from the Philippine Competition Commission and the National Economic and Development Authority; and most important, posting the performance bond which, in Mislatel's case, is P25.7 billion.

'Mislatel was also able to come up with the P10-billion paid-up capital,' Rio added.

Composed of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel), Udenna Corp., Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., China Telecom Corp. Ltd., Mislatel was the sole compliant bidder for the third telco franchise. Its win was marred by legal tussles, including a supposed irregularity in the franchise of Mislatel.

Rio said that the government would like to see Mislatel starting its operations in the soonest possible time, but noted the infrastructure constraints that the newly formed company would have to face.

'Nonetheless, they have already started laying out their infrastructure in the last two months,' he said.

Mislatel could also tap independent tower companies-four of which are now starting the buildup process for shared telco infrastructure across different provinces and cities in the Philippines-to hasten the rollout of its services.

Mislatel committed to initially cover 37 percent of the whole Philippines with a minimum Internet speed of 27 Mbps through a P150-billion capital and operational expenditures budget.

Based on the terms of reference for the third telco selection, companies must exceed the following minimum levels of service for the first year: 10 percent of the population, 5 Mbps speed and a P40-billion capital.

Mislatel's five-year commitment entails P257 billion in total money spent, which should provide for an 84-percent coverage with a minimum Internet speed of 55 Mbps.

'The measurement of their commitment will start a year after,' Rio said.

Should Mislatel fail on its commitments, it will have the chance to implement corrective actions, but the government has the right to revoke the franchise awarded to it.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 8, 2019
Words:545
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