Telcos urge PCC to open channels for dialogue
Philippines leading telcos Globe Telecom and PLDT called on the Philippine Competition Commission to open channels for dialogue in order to resolve uncertainties concerning the joint buy out of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunication assets.
In a letter dated June 14, 2016, the two telcos requested the PCC for a meeting to shed light on certain issues that the Commission may have regarding the transaction. In the letter, the Globe and PLDT said that, “Consistent with our earlier declaration, we express our willingness to cooperate with the Honorable Commission to settle the issues surrounding the transaction having in mind the tremendous benefit that the public will gain from the immediate unlocking of the advantages of the underutilized frequencies underpinning the transaction.”
Globe General Counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo expressed concern over the impasse saying, “This is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty hanging over the industry, which in turn, cause investors to take a cautious position. We are willing to cooperate and work with the PCC for the approval of the transaction.”
Investors initially cheered the buyout, with Globe rising to PHP2,310/share at the end of trading day on May 30, when the deal was announced, from PHP2,188/share from the previous trading session. However, following PCC’s announcement to review the deal, Globe share prices already slid to PHP2,280/share at the end of trading day of June 20.
Both telcos have repeatedly stressed that the transaction was above-board and did not violate any provisions of the country’s anti-competitive law. Despite refilling the notices to the PCC, the concerns of both telcos insofar as the initial findings of the PCC remain unanswered.
Castelo emphasized that in acquiring San Miguel’s telco assets, there was no market share gain or loss for any of the parties involved because majority of the companies that belonged to SMC were not operating. Castelo also said that the return of a complete set of 2G, 3G, 4G, and potential 5G, including 20 MHz of the 700 Mhz spectrum to the government fully supports open market competition, enabling the entry of another industry player in future.
“Amid the clamor for faster and better mobile internet in the country, Globe has remained committed in expanding our capabilities through investments in our network. Considering the challenges in building a superior telecommunications network across the archipelago, particularly in terms of site acquisitions, co-use of the 700 MHz spectrum among existing players will fast track the improvement of mobile internet services in the country through additional capacity and greater coverage,” Castelo said.
Less than a week since it gained access to the unused SMC frequencies, Globe activated the first 700 MHz site, which is located near Hardin ng Bougainvillea in UP Diliman, Quezon City. To date, coverage of the 700 MHz has already been expanded and is now covering key locations in Quezon City such as Horseshoe Village, New Manila, Tomas Morato, G. Araneta Ave., Talayan Village, North Ave., Project 6, Mindanao Ave., Philam Subdivision, Trinoma and SM City, Culiat, New Era, Commonwealth Ave, Tandang Sora, Tierra Pura, Barangay Holy Spirit, BF Quezon City, Mapayapa, Don Antonio, C.P. Garcia, Katipunan Avenue also covering Ateneo Miriam and Loyola Heights.
"It would be a shame to dismantle all these given the extensive resources being spent."
"It would be a shame to dismantle all these given the extensive resources being spent"
Castelo said that Globe is already doing additional spending to retrofit cell towers in order to utilize the 700 Mhz for public benefit. “It would be a shame to dismantle all these given the extensive resources being spent,” said Castelo.
Globe also revealed last week that it also started utilizing the 2600 MHz spectrum for 130 sites mostly in Visayas and Mindanao, providing customers in those regions with more network capacities to support growing demand for bandwidth. The number of cell sites with activation of the new 2600MHz allocation will grow to more than 800 sites by the first week of July, the company said. The additional allocation in the 2600 MHz band is also among the assets freed up as a result of the acquisition deal.