Condo builder faces antitrust rap over lone internet provider

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2019 05:41 AM | Updated as of Apr 08 2019 09:25 AM

MANILA -- The country's antitrust watchdog said Saturday its prosecutorial arm found that a condominium builder violated competition laws by imposing a sole internet provider for residents and tenants.

A "statement of objections" was filed on March 27 against Urban Deca Homes Manila Condominium Corp and 8990 Holdings Inc for "abuse of dominance," the Philippine Competition Commission said in a statement.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange Monday, 8990 Holdings said its legal team was "looking into the matter" and would reply within the 45-day window from the receipt of summons.

"The legal team of 8990 Holdings Inc is currently looking into the matter and intends to respond with its verified Answer within forty five days from receipt of said summons," the company said. 

It was the first such case filed before the PCC. Section 15 of the Philippine Competition Act prohibits "abuses of dominant position," the antitrust body said. There was no immediate reply from 8990 Holdings when contacted by ABS-CBN News.

Urban Deca Homes Manila is a low-cost condominium under 8990 Holdings, Inc, developed by Euson Realty and Development Corp and Tondo Holdings Corp, according to the PCC.

"This is a fair warning to businesses that resort to exclusive partnerships to corner profit and hinder the entry of other competitors in exercise of its market power," said PCC enforcement office director Orlando Polinar.

"This act of abuse of dominance limits the choices made available to residents and is a violation of the competition law," he said.

According to the PCC, its prosecutorial arm found that the condominium's property manager "blocked" other internet providers, except Itech Rar Solutions Inc.

"Numerous complaints" prompted the investigation. Residents of Urban Deca claimed their internet provider charges P1,249 for 2Mbps, the price equivalent of a 5Mbps plan from other providers, the PCC said.

The “Fiber to Deca Homes” service was also slow, expensive, and unreliable, the PCC said.

Under the Philippine Competition Act, an entity found to have abused its dominance in the market could face a fine of up to P100 million.