MANILA - Mislatel Consortium provisionally won the bidding for the country's 3rd major telecommunications player because it offered the highest committed level of service, a Cabinet official overseeing the search said Wednesday.
"Walang human intervention, walang judges, ito ay isang computer's program," Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. told "Bandila sa DZMM."
The newly-formed consortium is composed of Davao tycoon Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation, its logistics arm Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., Chinese state-run China Telecom Corporation Limited, and the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Corporation, Inc. (Mislatel).
Two other contenders - SEAR Telecom Consortium of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T). - were disqualified for failure to meet bidding requirements.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said SEAR Telecom failed to pay a P700-million security fee while PT&T failed to produce a "certificate of technical capability" from other countries where it operates.
Rio also defended the selection process against speculations that the joint venture of Uy and China Telecom was favored.
"'Yung ginawa naming computer program, wala kami talagang discretion, we can't subtract or deduct or add anything to what they've inputed. 'Yung lumabas 'yung result ito na ang result," he said.
"Wala po," he said when asked if he received a call from the Malacañang.
Uy was among the top donors of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 presidential elections.
Uy, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Petroleum, and his wife Cherylyn gave a total of P31 million in cash to the Duterte campaign as shown in the president's Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
SEAR Telecom and PT&T, Rio said, can still file a motion for reconsideration within 3 days.
"Sa ngayon, 'yung Udenna ang nag-qualify. Sila ngayon ang provisional major player ng telecom industry," he said.
Under the Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS) selection method, Mislatel Consortium earned 456 points out of a possible perfect score of 500, Rio said.
As a provisional telco player, Mislatel Consortium promised to provide services in at least 80 percent of the cities and municipalities nationwide in its 5 years of operation.
"It's a big improvement than Globe. Globe is about 76 percent lang ang na-cover, 20 years na sila," Rio said.
Mislatel Consortium will also offer a minimum average broadband speed of 27 Megabits per second (Mbps) in its first year of operation and 55 Mbps on its second year. The internet speed is nearly similar to Singapore, he added.
Duterte in 2017 sought the entry of a third telco player to improve internet connectivity in the country.
He earlier said he aimed to make his pick in October or November, vowing to select the participant with "the best track record."
Internet speeds for both mobile and fixed broadband in the Philippines is among the slowest in the world, according to industry monitor Speedtest Global.