Duterte: Third telco known by December


Posted at Sep 11 2018 05:37 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2018 06:54 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the public would know his choice for the country's third major telecommunications player by December. 

This as he aimed to take his pick by late October or early November, vowing to select the offer from the bidder with the "best track record." 

The President made the announcement during his wide-ranging interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. 

As he bared the timeline, Duterte expressed frustration over the slow pace of the selection process. 

"You know, I've been waiting for that decision, critical decision, until now wala (nothing)," the President said. 

He added that he would rather select a bidder with the best track record even if its offer was expensive, instead of the one offering the lowest price. 

"Ayaw ko 'yang lowest bid, lowest bid (I don't want [to select just on the basis of] the lowest bid," Duterte said. 

The selection process for the third telco had been marred by disagreement among cabinet members. 

Information and Communications Technology Officer-in-Charge Eliseo Rio preferred a system where the bidder with the highest committed level of service would be awarded the contract. 

In Rio's preferred system, the bidder promising to provide the best service to the widest number of subscribers and customers in the shortest time possible will be chosen as the new major player.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, meanwhile, lobbied for a spectrum auction, with the highest bidder getting the contract. Dominguez said this would ensure that the winning bidder had the financial capacity to compete with current players Globe and PLDT. 

Last month, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it was looking to select the third telco by December this year at the latest. 

In December last year, Duterte said he wanted the third telco "up and about" by first quarter of this year. 

The release of the terms of reference for bidding, however, kept getting pushed back. 

Firms who wanted to participate in the bidding also asked for more time to comply with the requirements, the DICT said.