After several months of eager anticipation that are rife with heightened drama and bickering, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has officially confirmed the Mislatel consortium as the new major player (NMP) or third telco that will challenge the dominance of Globe Telecom and PLDT.
The Mislatel consortium is composed of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Udenna Corporation, Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation, and China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom).
Mislatel won the bidding for the third telco player on November 7 after the NTC disqualified Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T) and Sear Telecommunications for their failure to meet the requirements of the selection process.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said that Mislatel now has 90 days to comply with a post-qualification evaluation before it receives the frequencies and other items promised to the third telco. The requirements include the performance bond of ₱25 billion for the first year of operation and the formation of the consortium. If Mislatel cannot comply within 90 days, it will be disqualified.
Rio said that if Mislatel fails to meet the requirements, the DITC will likely have to start the selection process from scratch since all the other participants were disqualified. The terms of reference may also have to be changed. He added that the likelihood of this happening is low, however.
Mislatel has promised to provide Internet speeds of 27 Mbps in its first year of operation and 55 Mbps in its second year, which is at par with Internet connection speeds in Singapore.
If Mislatel fails to fulfill its commitments, Rio said that Mislatel will forfeit the ₱25 billion performance bond and lose the frequencies allocated to it by the government. However, Mislatel will be given a six-month grace period should it fail to comply.
Rio said that all concerns of all parties were heard during the public consultations.
On whether or not the PT&T and NOW Corporation lawsuits can affect Mislatel’s status as the NMP, Rio explained that the only way Mistalel would be removed as the NMP is if it fails the 90-day post-qualification evaluation or if it fails to comply with its five-year service commitments.
Representatives of the Mislatel consortium were at the NTC office to accept the confirmation order. The consortium promptly invited the other selection process participants to partner with it for a faster roll out.
Atty. Adel Tamano, the spokesperson for the Mislatel consortium, said that there is so much work to be done but that they are excited. He added that they will still need the approval of Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“We will leverage on China Telecom’s technical expertise. But we are a Filipino company. China Telecom only has 40%. We have a good group. Udenna knows the Philippine market,” Tamano explained.
Tamano said that the third telco will not be carrying the Mislatel brand and that they will come up with the new name soon.
As for the alleged “closeness” of Udenna Corporation CEO Dennis Uy with President Rodrigo Duterte, Tamano said that the issue was already addressed by Malacañang Palace and that the selection process was fair and efficient.
The third telco player is expected to start accepting subscribers in the middle of 2019.
(With reports from ABS-CBN News)