Chavit Singson-backed third telco bidder bets on satellite edge


Posted at Nov 02 2018 04:07 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2018 10:52 PM

Former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson is shown in this file photo. Singson's LCS Corp is part of the Tier1 consortium that is vying for the third telco slot. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) -- Internet provider Tier1 will pursue its bid to set up a third telecommunications player, betting on its satellite capability, one of its partners, former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson said Friday.

Tier1 is one of 10 firms that bought bid documents for the right to challenge the dominance of PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom. Other potential bidders include Udenna Corp of Davao tycoon Dennis Uy, China Telecom and Norway's Telenor.

A "provisional" third telco could be named as early as next week, when the National Telecommunications Commission evaluates the bids using the "highest committed level of service" as criteria.

"We are ready. We are the most qualified because we secured a satellite. We have our own cable," Singson told ANC's Market Edge. The satellite is projected to have nationwide coverage by August 2019, he said.

With the satellite capability, Tier1 can provide up to 100 mbps speeds per user, said Ed Millana, president of consortium partner Millawave.

"We are more than a telco what. We are trying to build here is an ecosystem," Millana said.

Tier1 is complying with last minute requirements, including changing the font type on its proposal, Millana said.

Singson added: "I hope they will choose the right group to serve the people."

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-- Satellites don't guarantee efficient service --

Engr. Pierre Tito Galla, co-founder Democracy.Net.PH, however, said banking on satellite technology will not ensure efficient service.

" 'Yung satellite na 'yan, gumagamit ng tinatawag na Ka-bandwidth . . . May benefits siya, pero mayroon din siyang limitations," he told DZMM.

According to Galla, satellites have high latency rates, which may cause problems if used for businesses or gaming.

"Ang problem naman ngayon ng satellite, lalo na 'yung tinatawag na geostationary satellite, mayroon siyang tinatawag na mataas na latency. May delay, about 400 to 500 millisecond. For purposes of business, halimbawa banking, ATM, baka hindi siya maging sufficient kasi 'yung delay, masyado na siyang matagal," he said.

" 'Yung mga growing na industries natin dito sa Pilipinas, katulad ng gaming, kapag sinabi mong ano, naku, kapag sinabi mong greater than 50 milliseconds, nag-aaway na sila," Galla added.

According to Galla, what's more important for the government is to look for a telco that will use different kinds of technology that will adapt with the topography and geography of Philippine cities.

"It's all about the appropriate technology for the appropriate location. Hindi dapat tayo nagsi-stick sa isang technology for one location," he said.

"Sa Pilipinas, 2,000 islands na populated, 'di ba? Pero iba iba ang topography, ang geography, dapat iba't ibang technology ang ilatag, kung ano 'yung akma, kasi kung mag-stick ka sa isang technology, pwede kang mapag-iwanan."

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One of the potential bidders, NOW Corp, questioned the selection process, saying it turned into a money-making scheme.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly pressed existing players to improve their services and pushed for a third telco.