President Rodrigo Duterte has offered China the “privilege” to operate as a third key player in the telecommunications industry to break the current duopoly in the country, Malacañang said on Monday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the offer was made during Duterte’s meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, noting the ‘seriousness’ of the president about the entry of a third telecommunications carrier.
“During the bilateral talks between President Duterte and the Chinese Premier, President Duterte offered to the People’s Republic of China the privilege to operate the third telecom’s carrier in the country,” Roque said.
This came after the Philippine government officially sealed a deal with a Facebook affiliate to build the “Luzon Bypass” of the Pacific Light Cable Network which will provide bandwidth of two terabits per second – equivalent to the current capacity of the duopoly operators today.
The spokesman also said the president gave instructions that all applications be filed and acted upon directly by the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Last week, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and American social media giant Facebook inked a landing party agreement to build a high-speed internet infrastructure in the Philippines.
Roque said the pact with Facebook should have been signed as early as December 2016 if not only DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima “prevented the earlier breakup of the duopoly by delaying the use of satellites as viable option.”
As of now, Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc. are the only service providers in the country.
Also at present, the Philippines has one of the slowest and most expensive internet speed in Asia Pacific, paying $40.96 for 13.41 Mbps.
The country also ranked 69th out of 77 countries when it comes to long-term evolution (LTE) availability and 74th out of 77 nations in terms of LTE speeds, according to a report released by coverage wireless mapping company OpenSignal this month.
However, Roque said that with end of telecom’s duopoly because of the entry of a new player, consumers will already attain “better telecommunications.”
“I repeat, the announcement is that duopoly, that telecom’s duopoly is about to end with the entry of the Facebook subsidiary as well as the offer by the President of the People’s Republic of China to operate the third telecom’s carrier,” Roque said.
“So, the good news is, the consumers can look forward now to better telecommunications, not just in terms of cellular technology but also in terms of internet speed as well as access. This is the latest instance of the President proving that he has the political will to do what is necessary to benefit the Filipino people,” he added.