Sec. Rio during the Information Campaign of the Selection of the NMP

The terms and conditions set in the Memorandum Circular for the Rules and Regulations on the Selection Process of a New Major Player (NTC MC 09-09-2018) are in the interest of the Filipino people who desire for better telecommunication services in the country. The DICT takes exception to NOW Telecom’s allegations that this initiative is a money-making scheme.

The required securities and fees are consistent with the rationale of bidding and procurement processes and are even lower than those required by Republic Act 9184. This is to attract possible participants while ensuring that the winner will be able to withstand intensive competition against the entrenched duopoly.

a) The participation security is there to ensure that participants are serious contenders that have the required financial capability to be the New Major Player (NMP). Their capability must be at least comparable to the resources of the duopoly for it to effectively compete within their target market. The participant is given certain options on what form they wish to put up the security (e.g., cash, bank drafts or letters of credit).

b) The performance security has been set to guarantee and assure the government that the NMP will deliver its commitments during the five-year commitment period. The requirement for cash deposits has been removed and the participant has been given options as to the forms provided in the MC.

c) The appeal or protest fee is a usual item in procurement processes to discourage frivolous motions and protests.

The NTC MC 09-09-2018 was the result of a series of public consultations and hearings, Oversight Committee review, and lengthy and comprehensive studies with international consultants. The public and stakeholders also had the opportunity to submit their position papers on the matter.

It is worth noting that when the MC was published, NOW Telecom had 15 days to question it, but it chose this point in time when the TOR is already effective and when the said company already bought the Instructions to Bidders (Selection Documents) last October 8, to raise their complaints. The participation fee of Php 1 Million it paid may have significantly cost NOW Telecom’s mother company, NOW Corp’s of its operational income which only stood at Php 6.3 Million in 2017.

The entry of the NMP is no small matter and to set the bar low for those who apparently cannot meet the standards is detrimental to the Filipino people, our target beneficiaries. The NMP must not only be technically capable, but more importantly it should have the financial muscle to compete with the giants, Globe and Smart.

Is this act of NOW Telecom  just to further delay the entry of the third telco (NMP)?