Bayan rejects 3G license bid of INC-related telco

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2010 10:27 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2010 06:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Telecommunications Inc. has also submitted its opposition to the cellular permit application of Schutzengel Telecom Inc. The move is seen as an apparent effort to block the 3G (third-generation) frequency application of a new entrant believed to be associated with religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

Under the draft circular on the rules on the assignment of the remaining allocated 3G frequency, new carriers with a pending application for a CMTS (cellular mobile telephone system) permit is qualified to apply for a 3G license.

Schutzengel has applied for CMTS and 3G licenses. It applied for a CMTS permit on January 15 and a 3G permit a couple of days later.

Bayan, in its filing with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), asked that Schutzengel’s application be denied because the NTC “can’t grant new CMTS license.”

The phone firm of the Lopez family opined that NTC memorandum circular (MC) 4-1-93—which explicitly directs that all interested applicants for said service either as a nationwide or regional service provider—must file their applications on or before February 15, 1993. It added that after the said period, the NTC shall defer the acceptance of any application for said service until further orders.

To date, Bayan said the NTC has not issued any order amending or superseding the directive stated in the 1993 circular.

Even the allocation of new frequency bands under MC 5-7-98 should not be construed as a repeal of NTC MC 4-1-93 since the additional frequencies were not intended for the use of new applicants but were solely meant for the expansion of the present CMTS carriers, Bayan said.

“In view thereof, NTC MC 4-1-93 remains valid and subsisting and thus, applicable to Schutzengel’s present application. In the face of aforesaid prohibition as to the acceptance of new applications for cellular mobile telephony service, Schutzengel’s? application should not be entertained and should be dismissed right.? To do otherwise would be to go against the clear directive of an effective executive issuance,” said Bayan.

Bayan also pointed out there is no more room available for a ninth CMTS player. The NTC has authorized eight carriers Smart Communications Inc,? Globe Telecom, Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc., Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises, Express Telecom,? Multi-Media Telephony Inc. , Next Mobile, and Bayan for the?operation of CMTS service in the country.

Schutzengel Telecom earlier claimed that it is legally, technically, and financially capable to put up a 3G network in the Philippines.?But in its application with the NTC, there was no mention of the company’s owner.

NTC said it is still studying the new criteria for 3G mobile operators.

Bayan added that the proposed operation by Schutzengel constitute needless, wasteful and uneconomic duplication of existing telecommunications services resulting in a waste of valuable resources. This, Bayan said, is counter-productive and will inevitably result in unfair and ruinous competition to the detriment of existing operators.

“[Schutzengel) has not yet proven its alleged technical and financial capacity to carry out this wide-reaching and overly ambitious undertaking. The telephone industry is vested with public interest. In the absence of sufficient evidence establishing a well-founded belief that applicant will be able to comply with its large scale project, this application should be denied outright,” said Bayan.