MANILA - Government may not be able to close a deal with a third telecommunications player by next month, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Saturday.
"Mayroong ulat na galing sa DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) na baka hindi magkaroon ng katuparan 'yung pagpasok ng 3rd telecom player by the end of the first quarter," Roque told reporters in Ilocos Norte.
Roque did not give details about the foreseen delay but said the President and his Cabinet are set to discuss the issue on Monday.
"Hindi ko pa alam kung ano ang paninindigan ni Presidente diyan pero sa Lunes po ay mayroon kaming Cabinet meeting at sa Cabinet meeting, una sa agenda ang rehabilitation ng Marawi. Pangalawa is third telcom player," he said.
The government started its "formal selection process" last month and said it would name the third telecom company before the Holy Week or in late March.
PLDT and Globe Telecom continue to dominate the industry after San Miguel Corp backed out last year and sold its telecommunications assets to the two players.
The challenger to the telecom duopoly must secure a congressional franchise and be able to spend at least P500 billion over 5 years, said Eliseo Rio, DICT officer-in-charge.
Last year, Duterte said he wants the third telco to be operational in the first 3 months of 2018 to improve internet connectivity in the country.