BSP welcomes telco competition

November 03, 2017 News

BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. expressed full support to the planned liberalization of the telecommunications industry because of its expected benefits to the whole financial system.

“The BSP fully supports an initiative to open up the telco business so that there will be more competition and better service delivery which will benefit the whole financial system,” Espenilla said during a forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines recently.

“Personally, I see a lot of value in liberalizing that as well. It is a pain point for our approach of promoting digital delivery of financial services because of infrastructural issues,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte in October last year said he was entertaining the idea of opening the local telecommunications industry to Chinese competitors if largest players PLDT-Smart Communications and Globe Telecom Inc. of the Ayala Group fails to improve their services.

Duterte in a speech in Davao City shared the frustration of millions of mobile phone users in the Philippines, who complain of poor phone service and slow internet speeds

Duterte in the early part of October said planned to allow four to six foreign Internet service providers to break the country’s telecommunications duopoly in a bid to promote greater competition for faster services.

“The only way to improve your service is to give them competitors. Or if there are only two of you, (discuss it),” the President said in an interview over state-run PTV-4.

The President said the telco duopoly could have been disadvantageous to the public, since the two dominant players “can always go into a cabal” and do a “cartel” on market prices and services.

Duterte said he was already “hurrying up” the entry of new players—with some pending applications in his desk already.

There were Chinese, Singaporean and American investors who wanted to enter the market, the President said.

Former leading telegraph company Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. is expected to challenge Globe and Smart on the telecommunications business.

Julito G. Rada | Manila Standard