The government of the Philippines has again pushed back its scheduled allocation of a third mobile licence, with a third operator now expected to be chosen in September.
After being set up in April, a committee dedicated to handling the allocation of the third licence will meet next week to approve the draft terms of the process. The final terms are likely to be agreed at this meeting, and then come into effect around late June or early July.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) originally published the draft terms in February, at which time it was planning to finalise the terms by the end of March and follow this with an auction on 18th May.
Once the terms have been finalised, bidding for the licence can begin, with potential licensees having two months to ready their offers. According to acting secretary of DICT Eliseo Rio, interested parties include Converge ICT Solutions, EasyCall Communications Philippines, Now, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone, and a consortium led by businessman Dennis Uy.
However, Rio noted that once the terms have been finalised, other companies may leap into action. Press reports have named several Asian operators as interested parties, including China Telecom, Japan’s KDDI, South Korea’s LG Uplus, and Vietnam’s Viettel.
The Philippines’ mobile market has long been dominated by Globe Telecom and Smart Communications (which is the mobile arm of PLDT), which each hold nearly 50% of the market. Towards the end of 2017, the government began to pursue the entry of a third player inot the market in order to address the duopoly, with president Rodrigo Duterte inviting investment from China.