Globe insists PLDT-Digitel will hog PH frequencies

Globe Telecom, which is in the middle of a high-profile battle against PLDT, is maintaining that its rival’s attempt to buy Digitel will result in a monopoly of the country’s frequency spectrum.

In a public hearing conducted by the National Telecommunications Commission, Emmanuel Estrada, head of network technology strategy of Globe, showed that at the 3G spectrum alone, the PLDT group, including Digitel, will have control over 45 MHz or about 56 percent of the total assignable spectrums.

“PLDT-Smart-Digitel’s thrust to gain substantial spectrum holdings creates a ‘stock-out’ scenario in the telecommunications industry in terms of available spectrum. This then makes any existing competitor or a future one at that unable to compete cost-effectively," Estrada said.

Estrada said that any new entrant will take some time before it can be a formidable competitor to a giant incumbent.

“With a new entrant still years away from becoming a viable competitor to PLDT-Smart-Digitel, the government must assign at least an additional 10 MHz of 3G spectrum to Globe for it to become a more effective competitor. Effective competition translates to better and more affordable services to consumers," the Globe official said.

In his affidavit, Estrada added that with PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel, the Philippine mobile industry has become one of the most concentrated deregulated telecommunications markets in Asia.

Against this background, PLDT commands a significant market share and spectrum advantage over its competitors, allowing it to operate from a better cost position that will adversely affect free competition and the public in the long run, Globe said.

Estrada noted that telecommunication industry regulators in other countries have asked players to surrender spectrum to gain approval for consolidation among telcos, citing the examples of Orange and T-Mobile in the United Kingdom, and AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States.

“The growth and development of telecommunications services depend upon the NTC’s efficient administration of the spectrum. PLDT would like the public to believe Globe makes inefficient use of its assigned frequencies and does not invest in its network, but we have proven that these are false and baseless accusations," Estrada added.

For the last five years, Globe said it has invested over $3 billion in capital expenditure (capex) to improve and expand its network. This year, the bulk of the company’s $500-million capex is allocated for expansion of its 3G and 4G network as well as improvement of its 2G sites.

via gmanews


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