China Telecom set to win third Philippines mobile licence

08 November 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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China Telecom is one a shortlist of one as the third mobile operator in the Philippines.

The government is saying that the Mislatel consortium, in which China Telecom is a partner, will be given the licence to compete against PLDT and Globe Telecom.

Mislatel is an abbreviation for Mindanao Islamic Telephone, which already has a fixed licence. The other members of the consortium are Udenna, a holding company owned by businessman Dennis Uy, an associate of Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and Udenna’s shipping business, Chelsea Logistics.

According to reports from Manila, Mislatel says it will spend 40-140 billion pesos ($750 million to $2.6 billion) on investment in its first year of operation. It plans to cover 10-50% of the Philippines with speeds of 5-55Mbps.

Mislatel said about the news: “The consortium is confident that Udenna Corporation’s extensive supply chain and knowledge of local industries will complement the world-class technology and telecommunications expertise of China Telecommunications Corporation, one of the world’s largest and most experienced fixed and mobile network operators. Meanwhile, Chelsea Logistic Corp’s expertise in logistics and distribution will enable the speedy development of the network.”

Duterte said a year ago that he wanted a third mobile operator – in a country of 105 million people – to compete with PLDT and Globe. After a meeting with China’s premier Li Keqiang in Manila in November 2017 he indicated he wanted a Chinese telecoms company to be part of the winning consortium.

Only days ago 10 groups had bought the bid documents from the government, but several – including Norway’s Telenor and a group associated with South Korea’s KT – dropped out.

On Wednesday this week three groups were shortlisted, but then the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) disqualified two of them for allegedly incorrect bids.

The NTC said Sear Telecom had not submitted participation documents with its bid and that Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T) had not submitted a certificate of technical capacity. That left just the China Telecom/Mislatel/Udenna consortium in the running.