Philippine telcos ready for legal battle for 700 MHz allocation

The heat is on in the Philippines telecommunications industry over the allocation of 700 MHz frequency.

According to an official statement released by Globe Telecom, there is unfair distribution of 700 MHz spectrum in the country. San Miguel Corporation currently holds 90 percent of the 700 MHz spectrum across the country.

Major telcos in the Philippines are now approaching authorities to distribute the spectrum evenly among major players.

Both the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom have urged National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to distribute the spectrum evenly among industry players.

PLDT head of Regulatory Affairs Ray Espinosa recently said that the company would lobby directly with President Aquino on the issue, and that its external legal team was preparing to launch legal action against the NTC, San Miguel and any of its partners unless the spectrum was shared.

The 700 MHz spectrum has been regarded crucial for the growth of mobile broadband.

At the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) last November, ITU formally moved to allocate the 700 MHz band to the global mobile industry.

ITU believes that utilization of the 694-790 MHz frequency for mobile broadband will go a long way in enabling the bridging of the digital divide worldwide. It will benefit handsets, supply chain, roaming, rural coverage, and other aspects of mobile communications, according to ITU.

Globe General Legal Counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo said that giving active and operating telecommunications companies access to the 700 MHz spectrum will allow the industry to provide broadband and data services at faster speeds and in a more cost-efficient manner.

Castelo said that as early as 2005, Globe already wrote to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) requesting for an allocation and assignment of frequencies within the 700 Mhz and 800 Mhz bands for its broadband wireless network, but NTC did not act favorably on its request.

The ITU’s move on the 700 MHz spectrum is supported by the joined by the GSMA, which said that maximizing on the unused 700 megahertz (MHz) mobile frequency spectrum can potentially increase the impact of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by tenfold, Globe said.

The group’s Mobile Economy Asia study also found that the full use of the spectrum has the potential to create an additional 2.1 million jobs for the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
Rajani Baburajan

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