PLDT surrenders frequency for 3rd telco player

MANILA — PLDT Inc. has formally surrendered one of its frequencies at no cost to the government, which could be allocated to a new major player in the local telecommunications industry.

The telco has complied with the directive of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to divest 10 megahertz (MHz) of 3G radio frequency that was previously assigned to Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises Inc. (CURE).

“This is to confirm that the PLDT Group is waiving its right to recover any and all costs of investments associated with the affected frequency. Accordingly, the new assignee of the affected frequency shall have no obligation to reimburse the PLDT Group for any of the said costs,” PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a letter addressed to the NTC dated March 5.

CURE said it will not claim any cost in case the frequencies are assigned to another telco company.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier said that the frequencies for the entry of a new major telco player should be awarded for free.

Pangilinan previously said the third major telco player should pay at least PHP3 billion for the 3G frequency turned over by CURE to the government.

PLDT surrendered CURE’s frequency to the NTC in 2012 as one of the conditions set by the government for its acquisition of Sun Cellular from the Gokongwei Group.

The NTC earlier planned to hold an auction for the 3G license of CURE but was unable to bid it out due to issues in determining the cost recovery amount.

Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expects the new major telco player to be identified within the last week of May until the first week of June this year.

The department has extended its acceptance of bidding documents until May 24 from its original March deadline to attract more investors who are interested to become the third major telco player in the country. Aerol John Pateña /PNA –