Telco regulator considers recall of unused frequencies

By LENIE LECTURA/ Business Mirror

Posted at Feb 04 2009 08:36 AM | Updated as of Feb 04 2009 04:36 PM

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has called the attention of phone companies in danger of losing assigned frequencies that are currently not being used. This, after it recently concluded an inventory of existing frequency allocations granted to telcos in the country.

In separate show-cause orders issued to Smart Communications Inc., Bell Telecom, Textron Corp., Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. (Philcomsat) and EasyCall Communications Philippines Inc., the telco regulator asked them to explain why their assigned frequency band should not be recalled for non-usage.

Smart, for instance, has been assigned a frequency within the 279-281 Megahertz (MHz) bandwidth on October 16, 1996. But it appears that the company is not operating on the said frequency band, said the NTC.

Smart was asked to appear on February 18 and to explain within 10 days why its provisional authority (PA) and frequency spectrum should not be cancelled and recalled.

BellTel’s assigned frequency within the 1710-1720/1805-1815 MHz band was also questioned. The NTC said the firm is not operating on the said bandwidth since it was awarded on September 24, 1998.The NTC asked BellTel to appear in a meeting slated on February 24.

Textron Corp. was assigned a frequency within the 3400-3600 MHz band on January 5, 2001. But the frequency management division of the commission said Textron has not been operating on this bandwidth. The company, which is controlled by the Delgado family who used to own Isla Communications Co. Inc., will appear in a February 17 meeting to explain its side.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) was assigned to operate in the 279-281 MHz band last October 10, 1996. But, according to the commission, it has not been operating on said spectrum. The NTC asked SBMA to appear on February 18.

The frequencies of Philcomsat under 3400-3600 MHz and EasyCall’s 1710-1720/1805-1815 MHz are also in danger of being recalled.

The NTC had recently concluded an inventory and review of the existing frequency allocations granted to mobile phone operators, broadcasting firms, paging companies and other operators engaged in various telecommunications services. 

The objective is to make sure that limited resources, such as radio frequencies, are used properly and that the government generates the appropriate revenues. The NTC earlier cited the low usage of frequencies allocated to Pilipino Telephone Corp., Bayan Telecommunications Inc. and Express Telecommunications Inc.