Globe will bid for PLDT's 3G license

By Lois Calderon, ABS-CBN News Channel

Posted at Apr 17 2012 05:01 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2012 01:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Globe Telecom reiterated it will bid for the 3G license that regulators required Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to give up as a condition for taking over Digital Telecommunications (Digitel) last year.

The National Telecommunications Commission required PLDT to surrender the 3G license to prevent a monopoly.

PLDT won its own 3G license in 2005; bought one from Roberto Ongpin in 2008, and; acquired a third with its Digitel purchase last year, bringing its 3G frequencies to a total of 35 megahertz.

PLDT needs to move the subscribers who are using the second license (10 megahertz) to its other licenses and then give it up.

The Pangilinan group was given nine months from October last year to do that, and a bidding is expected in July.

It sought for an extension, however, for the submission of a progress report supposedly due last April 13.

Globe President Ernest Cu said he’s not surprised it’s taking PLDT so long to sell the license.

Globe owns the only other awarded 3-G license at 10 megahertz.

"The fact that the divestment was delayed was not unexpected given the amount of PLDT’s resistance," Cu said after Globe’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

Meanwhile, Cu said Globe remains "fully compliant" with foreign ownership rules, a sticky issue that its rival PLDT is embroiled in.

The Supreme Court hears on Tuesday oral arguments on whether PLDT’s foreign stockholders have exceeded foreign ownership limits.

The high court is reviewing the case after PLDT asked it to reconsider last year’s ruling, that only voting shares should be counted in calculating ownership.

Foreign companies led by Hong Kong’s First Pacific and Japan’s NTT Docomo own 59% of PLDT, exceeding the 40% limit.

PLDT in its recent stockholders’ meeting won its stockholders’ approval to issue preferred shares with voting rights, which it said should bring down foreign ownership to just 35%. But it has not actually issued the voting shares just yet.