China Telecom's options: Third force or partner with Globe, PLDT

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2018 02:44 PM

MANILA - China Telecom can partner with either Globe Telecom or PLDT Inc, or help establish a third player, should it decide to push through with its investment in the Philippines, a regulator said Thursday.

Should the Beijing-based carrier forge joint ventures with the two dominant players in the Philippines, it would have to surrender frequencies meant for the third telecommunications firm, said Eliseo Rio, officer in charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

"China Telecom will have to choose, third player or Globe or PLDT," Rio said at a Senate hearing on proposals to revise foreign ownership restrictions in public utilities.

Foreign companies are limited to 40 percent ownership of public utilities, including telecommunications firms. Analysts said such restrictions were partly to blame for poor service.

Easing the restriction will allow the Ayala-owned telco to seek more foreign capital, Globe director for policy Ariel Tubayan told the same hearing.

The DICT is overseeing the selection process for a third carrier, which President Rodrigo Duterte wants up and running early this year.

A representative from the United Nations special agency for Communications Technology will be in Manila next week to help the Philippine government in the selection process.

Aside from China Telecom, PT&T and TierOne have expressed interest in establishing the third player.