Discussions on Day Two of the Philippine Telecoms Summit last March 10, 2017 at the PICC Forum zoomed into the role of competition in the telecommunications industry. This is after various stakeholders from the consumer, regulator, and telco groups shared insights from their particular perspectives on the state of Philippine Telecommunications during the first day of the summit at the PICC Forum.
The possibility of bringing in a third telco player was explored and deliberated on by the day’s speakers. DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima supports the entry of additional players for better efficiency of service, cost, and coverage. In relation to this, Philippine Competition Commission Head Johannes Bernabe highlighted the role of government in mitigating a third player’s investment expenses, and encouraged the creation of telecoms policies to foster a pro-competition environment.
Contrary to this, Peter Wallace of the Wallace Business Forum and Sean Gowran, Ericsson Philippines Country Manager argued that competition from a relevant third player would be financially impossible. Wallace stated that it would take more than five years for a new player to put up infostructure, and over two decades to achieve a relevant return on investment, given the financial capital it has to lay out. Moreover, the 40% cap on foreign ownership limits interest from international telecommunications companies. Instead, Wallace suggests for focus and emphasis to be placed on empowering the two current players to be able to deliver better service.
The presentations culminated in the “Tapatan” session on the Role of Competition, participated in by speakers from both days of the summit. With varying opinions on the entry of a third telco player, discussion progressed to the topic of fair distribution of frequencies. “Telecoms is no longer just a business concern, it is also for public service, [which] must be viewed as a national concern,” shared Secretary Salalima during the session.
Towards the end of the day, DICT Undersecretary Jorge Sarmiento provided a recap of event highlights, and presented summit outputs matched with planned initiatives moving forward. Included in these is the issuance of Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMCs) with Local Government Units (LGUs) to standardize fees and speed up the duration of permit processing.
Lastly, drafted legislative bills for ICT improvement were reviewed, and a signing ceremony for various Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) towards the acceleration of telecoms improvement was held between DICT and relevant stakeholders of the telecommunications industry. The drafted Executive Order mandating all LGUs and Agencies to expedite processing of permits and licenses for public services was presented as well.
Secretary Salalima, in closing, requested for the cooperation of all stakeholders to expedite the delivery of telecommunications services to the Filipino people.
Click on the following links to access the presentations from Day 2 of the PH Telecoms Summit: