Philippines' Duterte makes carrier offer to China
20 November 2017 | Natalie Bannerman
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has given China the opportunity to run a third telecoms carrier in the country.
As confirmed by the presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the move comes as Duterte attempts to break the existing telecoms duopoly in the country that is reported to have the slowest internet in the Asia-Pacific.
The offer was made during Duterte’s bilateral meeting with China’s premier Li Keqiang in Manila last week.
The duopoly is currently held by domestic operators Globe Telecom and PLDT, as fact that Duterte has openly expressed his disapproval of in the past. Back in November 2016 he was quoted as saying that opening up the telecoms sector in the country would “promote competitiveness and improve quality of service”. In October of this year he affirmed this sentiment by indicating that foreign carriers may be welcomed to the market.
Only last week, the Philippine government signed an agreement with a Facebook subsidiary Luzon Bypass project. The project involves the installation of submarine cables for a high speed internet infrastructure and provides 2 terabits per second of bandwidth.
"So the good news is, the consumers can look forward now to better telecommunications, not just in terms of cellular technology but also in terms of internet speed as well as access," Roque said.
China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom the three biggest telecoms carriers in China have yet to expand outside of their markets and though its still unclear whether or not China will accept Duterte’s offer, the fact that it has taken up investments in the like of Brazil, Thailand and Pakistan, all look positive.
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