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DICT interim chief urges 3rd telco player to focus on fixed broadband

Eliseo Rio Jr., undersecretary and officer-in-charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said he would advice the incoming third telco player to pour its resources first on fixed telecom services.

DICT undersecretary and officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio Jr. In a Facebook post, Rio said fixed broadband is the weak point of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications and that is where the third player in the local telecom industry should pounce on. “…[I]nstead of starting to compete with the duopoly in mobile services, where they are already strong with 2 decades of infrastructure building and more than 105 million subscribers, the third player [can] compete initially in the fixed services, where the duopoly is weak, with only 17% establishments, homes, and offices having internet access,” Rio stated.

Rio, who regularly uses his personal Facebook account to engage discussions with netizens, made the suggestion after getting comments that the government should reallocate frequencies from the duopoly to give the third telco player a fighting chance against the incumbents. “Surely, the duopoly will not give up the frequencies that are allocated to it or even share these, without a fight that will bring us to courts. This will take years, time that the third player doesn’t have,” he noted.

The social media-savvy official said it is impractical to connect to mobile access services when “around 80% of our daily activities” are done anyway in homes, offices, and establishments. “Why not use a fixed access when this can be faster and less expensive than mobile access? The devices we are presently using will seamlessly work with fixed and mobile access without any intervention on our part,” he said.

“And to the third player, the more than 105 million subscribers of Globe and Smart will be your subscribers when they are at their homes, schools and offices, with absolutely no changes in the devices they are using.” To better compete with Globe and Smart in Metro Manila and other densely populated urban areas, Rio said the third player can deploy new technologies that can deliver high-speed Internet access to residential customers through the air. “The service is a fast and affordable alternative to cables and fixed lines that can give symmetrical 100 Mbps download and upload speeds to homes,” he stated.

More importantly, frequencies are still available for this type of wireless access technology, he added.

Rio said this will also give time for the DICT to focus on coming up with more equitable frequency allocation policies to level the playing field among the three players.

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