Third telco bidding seen in November

President Duterte wants telecommunication services to improve through a third telco. (PCOO photo)

The government and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are finalizing the terms of reference (ToR) for the bidding of a third telecommunications franchise, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said on Thursday.

“The government’s target is to have a new telco player by the end of the year,” said Go in a radio interview. “It’s already in the works and the terms of reference for the process of choosing a new telco may be completed next month.”

“Hopefully, they can release the terms of reference so that bidding can start by November,” Go added.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s right-hand man stressed that the government is doing the best it can to speed up the process of choosing a third telco player that is expected to break the duopoly in telecommunications services.

Go, however, said that while they want the process to progress faster, they do not want to have any legal problems regarding the choice of a new telco player.

“We really want to speed up the process, but we are also wary of any anomalies, that’s why we want it to undergo a bidding process,” said Go. “We don’t want finger-pointing when the time comes.”

He added, “We have involved the Office of the Solicitor General and the DoJ so that the process will speed up. The President is also tired of waiting for another telco player to be chosen.”

Go said they are also wary of any hitches, such as application of temporary restraining orders (TRO) to hinder the selection process.

“Usually, in cases like these, there are group who suddenly apply for a TRO,” said Go. “We don’t want that, and that’s the reason why we have involved the SolGen and the DoJ. We don’t want the implementation of the third telco to be delayed any longer.”

Earlier, Duterte announced that the government is set on having a third major telecommunications carrier enter the Philippines “by Christmas” which will pave the way for faster internet services in the country.

“By Christmas, the public will know who the third player is,” said Duterte during his one-on-one interview with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacanang on Monday.

Duterte said that he is growing impatient with the delay in the entry of the third telco.

“I have been waiting for that critical decision, until now, nothing,” the President said. “I will maybe — late, early November, and if nothing happens, I will take over. I will assign this to the Office of the President. And, I will invite all possible third players and I will decide in front of them who will get the slot.”

Duterte also assured the public his chosen entity will have the “best track record.”

“I will select the group who has a the best record, one without any breakdowns,” said Duterte.

“So what, why should I buy the cheapest? Lowest bid, lowest bid, that’s a lot of bull. I will choose the best, the most expensive and has the best track record in the business,” he added.

p: wjg