By Genalyn Kabiling
President Rodrigo Duterte thanked PLDT Inc. for returning frequencies to the government at no cost, hoping this would facilitate the entry of third telecommunication carrier in the country by March or early April.
The telco giant, managed by businessman Manuel Pangilinan, made the gesture after the President threatened to place some telco firms under tax audit for allegedly trying to derail the entry of the third telco player.
Duterte was earlier furious at some telco firms demanding payment for frequencies that were given for free in the first place.
“The President said he is thankful for PLDT’s cooperation dahil naintindihan naman ng Pangulo at malinaw sa Pangulo na itong pagkakaroon ng third telecoms carrier ay makikinabang ang bayan. Nagpapasalamat ang Pangulo diyan [because the President understands, it is clear to the President the nation will benefit from having a third telecoms carrier]” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a media interview.
With PLDT’s latest gesture, Roque is confident the projected entry of the third telco player that aims to foster market competition would now move forward.
“All is well,” Roque said, adding the President was informed about the PLDT decision on Tuesday night.
“The President’s directive is clear: He wants a third player in the telecommunications industry to be operational by end of March or early April,” he aid.
Roque said PLDT’s plan of returning CURE frequencies to the government to be made available to the third telco player was a step in the right direction.
“It will facilitate the setting up of the new major player that can effectively compete in the market,” he added.
Eliseo Rio, officer-in-charge of the DICT, recently revealed that PLDT would no longer demand for compensation for the CURE frequencies, that would be made available to the potential third telco player.
Rio, in a Facebook post, said decision was relayed during his conversation with Pangilinan, who changed his mind after reportedly asking for P3 billion in exchange for PLDT’s unused 3G frequencies.