Smart joins move vs telco’s 3G bid

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Mar 04 2010 10:28 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2010 07:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Smart Communications Inc. has joined the move against the application of Schutzengel Telecom Inc. for a third-generation (3G) mobile license, saying a new entrant in the industry will only result in unhealthy competition.

The cellular unit of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should dismiss the application of Schutzengel, a new phone firm reportedly associated with the Iglesia ni Cristo religious group.

Existing 3G operators including Smart, Globe Telecom Inc., Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. and Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises are of the opinion that a new entrant such as Schutzengel will only prejudice present providers considering industry and subscriber limitations.

“There is nothing in the application which would establish that [Schutzengel] is legally, technically and financially capable of providing the proposed service in the areas of expansion.

“[Schutzengel] has not established how the public welfare and convenience may be promoted by the grant of its application. There is no showing that there is an urgency to the present application, aside from [its] bare claim, to grant the provision authority, much more the certificate of public convenience and necessity,” said Smart.

Smart pointed out that there are a number of applicants vying for the last remaining 3G frequencies.

“The only remaining frequencies for 3G have been applied for, and are being contested by telecommunications service providers which have submitted their applications during the period stated in the circular and upon submission of requirements,” it said.

Bayan Telecommunications Inc. also filed its opposition to Schutzengel’s 3G application.

It said the proposed operation by Schutzengel will constitute “needless, wasteful and uneconomic duplication of existing telecommunications services resulting in a waste of valuable resources.”? This, Bayan said, is “counter productive and would inevitably result in unfair and ruinous competition to the detriment of existing operators and of public interest.”

Bayan joins Multi-Media Telephony Inc. , Next Mobile, AZ Communications Inc. and Pacific Wireless in a case filed with the appellate court against the NTC in relation to its assailed orders on the award of 3G permits.