Press Release
January 24, 2018

Statement on Anti-Competitive Spectrum Control

Earlier this week the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acknowledged a major stumbling block along the path to genuine telecommunications sector reform - the complete control of all workhorse spectrum frequencies by PLDT and Globe. Essentially, this means that any potential third player would be limited to offering data-based services only, since the 2G spectrum that support call and SMS services are completely controlled by the two telco giants. This would put the third player at an immediate disadvantage, right out of the gate, since a significant percentage of mobile subscribers still rely on these bread-and-butter 2G services.

This issue came up last year during the legislative inquiry of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee on potential telecommunications industry reforms. One of the key recommendations made by the committee, and later adopted by the Senate upon approval of the committee report, was to increase competition in the sector by stricter government regulation of the publicly-owned spectrum. This is the perfect time for the government to act on this recommendation.

Therefore, I am calling on the National Telecommunications Commission to exercise its power to control and allocate spectrum, as provided under Republic Acts No. 3846 and 7925, to recall spectrum which have been allocated to PLDT and Globe but remain unused. This will make room for the allocation of workhouse spectrum to a truly competitive third player - the critical first step toward revolutionizing the telco sector and improving the quality of mobile phone services provided to consumers.

Meanwhile, I am also calling on the Philippine Competition Commission to review the legality of the prevailing allocation of spectrum. The complete control of two powerful entities over the entire range of profitable spectrum is textbook anti-competitive behavior, and consumer welfare demands that we put a stop to it.

News Latest News Feed