Ejercito wants 3rd telco player to encourage competition

MANILA — A Senator on Wednesday said that he wants to allow a third telecommunications company in the Philippines to end the duopoly of telco giants Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the government should allow a third player to encourage competition and to avoid possible collusion in expensive cellphone services.

“We are all being shortchanged with what we pay. Think of it, if we are affected, how much more the kasambahays (house helpers) and laborers who invest their hard-earned money to buy cellphone load? It’s their only way to unwind and to communicate with their loved ones. And what do they get in return? Load overcharging, poor signal, and slow internet,” Ejercito said.

He made this remark days after the first hearing on Senate Bill No. 1302, authored by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, which seeks to extend Smart’s franchise for another 25 years.

The senator said that he will get the commitment of Smart to improve and upgrade its services for the next five to 10 years.

He noted that it is the legislators’ duty to voice out these complaints by millions of subscribers.

“Otherwise, if we just approve Smart’s franchise without raising these issues, we will continue to avail poor services,” he said. AZER N. PARROCHA/PNA-northboundasia.com