Manila, Philippines — President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte threatened to welcome Chinese competitors to the local telecommunications industry if the country’s telecommunications and Internet Service Provider (ISP) duopoly — PLDT-Smart Communications of Manuel V. Pangilinan and Globe Telecom of the Ayala Group — fails to improve its savage services.
In a speech in Davao City, Honorable Rodigo Duterte said he shared the frustration of millions of mobile phone subscribers in the archipelago, who complain of poor telecommunication service and slow internet speeds.
President Duterte added that oftentimes he would “wait until the next day before I get a reply” to his short messaging service (SMS).
“I’m just suffering all of this but if you cannot do it right, you wait, I’m going to China and I’ll open everything for competition,” said President Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippine President is set to visit China on October 18th and will stay there until 21st.
Secretary of Presidential Communications Operations Martin Andanar said that PLDT and its mobile subsidiary Smart Communications, and Globe Telecom should take seriously the President Duterte’s warning because “he talks like that only when he is really frustrated.”
Earlier this year, specifically in May, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) canceled its pending plan to build a third telco player in the country to break the telecommunication duopoly when it sold its cellular sites and a 700-Megahertz spectrum to both PLDT-Smart and Globe.
The Philippine Competition Commission is looking to investigate the deal but it was blocked by the Court of Appeals.
Andanar said that the Administration would wait how the PLDT-Smart and Globe would deploy SMC assets to improve their respective mobile and internet services.
But if the aforementioned firms fail to address the issues on their services, Andanar said the Department of Information and Communications Technology can then put up a state-owned telecommunications firm to compete against the PLDT-Smart and Globe, and build cellular sites in areas that are not currently served.
“We want to have a vibrant competition and end the two-player competition which is why it is called a duopoly,” said Andanar. They can also welcome a third player to increase the competition.