MANILA - The government wants a third telco that "has the financial and technical clout to really compete," the officer in-charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Wednesday.
DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said the government wants the prospective third telco to avoid a repeat of what happened to San Miguel Corp. (SMC), whose telco assets were swallowed up by Globe and Smart after SMC failed to get a foreign partner to back up its bid to compete against the two firms.
"We would like the third player to be robust enough financially and technically to be able to compete and give the incumbent telcos a run for their money," Rio told ANC's Future Perfect Tech Shorts.
Rio said the government also wants the third telco to focus on fixed line broadband instead of offering cellular data.
President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he wants a third telco player to be running within the first three months of 2018.
China Telecom has said that it is studying a possible investment in the Philippines after Duterte asked China to invest in the country's telco industry.
Rio, meanwhile, allayed concerns that allowing a Chinese company to own a stake in the country's telco industry may compromise the Philippines' cybersecurity.
He said both Globe and Smart have already partnered with Chinese tech firm Huawei to upgrade their networks.