On November 7, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will provisionally name the third major telecommunications player that is set to compete against the industry’s two giants, Globe Telecom and PLDT.
It is a moment that was 11 months in the making, after the inter-agency selection committee faced several delays due to the differing opinions and recommendations of stakeholders on how to best deal with the process.
But in the end, the committee decided to choose the third telco player by assessing their bids based on their committed level of service, which will be quantified using a point-based system for easier and more transparent ranking.
Each bidder will be required to submit a five-year rollout plan, and set targets for three major items: internet speeds that meet the average requirement, strong financing and service coverage (See infographic).
In addition to commitments, the third telco contenders must also meet certain minimum qualifications. If they are a partnership, joint venture or consortium, at least one member must have a congressional franchise to operate as a telco service. One member must also have had a minimum of 10 years’ worth of experience in providing national telco services.
So far, at least 10 companies were reported to have purchased the bidding documents or expressed their intention to participate in the bidding. Interested applicants have until before 10 a.m. on November 7 to submit their bid and pay the necessary fees. The infographic on this page lists key information on some of the contenders.
Afterwards, the DICT will immediately start opening up submitted bids, assign points to their commitments and targets and tabulate the results. According to Rio, on that same day, a third telco player will be “provisionally” named.
Based on the final terms of reference guiding the selection process, within a period of three days from the announcement, the “validation period” shall be conducted by the committee. This entails a thorough assessment of the documents provided by the winning bidder to ensure that their commitments are realistic and the company is in a position to make good on them.
If the documents and targets check out, the provisional new major player (NMP) will be named as the NMP. Otherwise, the next-ranking contender will be named as the new provisional NMP and will go through the same verification process.
After the selection committee, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will also go through the preliminary winner’s submissions for verification and validation. If everything checks out, NTC will then issue the confirmation order to the winning bidder.
This entire process is expected to be completed by December at the earliest, as Rio hopes the new major telco player will be named before Christmas.
With this timeline, Rio expects the new telco to start rolling out its services by February or March 2019 and be fully operational by the second half of next year.
“The third telco would have gained a substantial subscriber base by the end of 2019. 2020 will be the time that all of the things we are doing now will be actually felt by the people. Our people will expect faster internet speed by 2020 at a lower cost,” Rio said in a previous interview.
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz