PLDT to return frequency to gov't in boost to third player effort

Patrick Quintos and Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2018 09:04 AM | Updated as of Feb 07 2018 03:26 PM

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MANILA - PLDT Inc will surrender one of its frequencies to the government, a Cabinet official overseeing the establishment of a third telecommunications player in the country said Wednesday.

The frequency that will be surrendered, held previously by CURE, will become available to the third player, that President Rodrigo Duterte wants up and running early this year, said Eliseo Rio, officer-in-charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Duterte on Tuesday said he would have telecommunications firms audited. Earlier that day, Malacanang said the President was "displeased" at the idea of government buying frequencies from private firms.

The President was "thankful for PLDT's cooperation," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

"Malinaw sa Pangulo na ang pagkakaroon ng third telecom carrier ay makikinabang ang buong bayan," Roque said.

(It is clear to the President that the entire nation will benefit from having a third telecom carrier.)

(The President wants the frequency at no cost to the government. That was his instruction.)

"Napaabot ko na kay MVP kahapon at pumayag na po siya sa kondisyon ni Presidente," Rio said, referring to the PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

(I have relayed this to MVP yesterday and he agreed to the President's condition.)

PLDT and its mobile unit Smart acquired the CURE frequency 2007 and operated it under the Red Mobile brand.

(It is clear with the president that having a third telecom player will be beneficial for the whole nation.)

Duterte denied the request of the DICT to move the selection of a third telecommunications company to May and told the agency to stick to its original target to name the challenger to PLDT and Globe Telecom by March, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday.

PLDT and Globe Telecom continue to dominate the industry after San Miguel Corp sold its telecommunications assets to the two firms in May 2016.

San Miguel had planned on setting up the third player but its planned joint venture with Australia's Telstra fizzled.

-- with a report from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News