President Duterte has invited China Telecom to enter the Filipino telecoms market, to inject fresh competition into the sector

Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has said that he wants the country’s new Chinese backed telecoms company to begin delivering services in the Philippines by the first quarter of 2018. 

President Duterte has invited China Telecom to enter the Filipino telecommunications market to introduce fresh competition and break up the incumbent duopoly of Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.  

"The President has instructed DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission to ensure that the third telecom provider will be up and about by the first quarter of 2018, the first three months of 2018," said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

It is believed that President Duterte has asked the National Telecommunications Commission to approve application and licences within seven days. 

Historically, the Philippines telecommunications sector has been closed to foreign investment, with all companies being required to be at least 60% Filipino owned. The proposed thrid carrier in the Phillippines would be 40% owned by China Telecom, with a consortium of Filipino businesses owning the remaining 60%.   

When asked whether the process to launch a third network carrier was being rushed, Harry Roque told reporters: "It is being rushed because we need desperately to have better telecoms in this country." 

Despite the urgency from the Filipino government, China Telecom is remaining tight lipped on its potential venture into the Filipino market, refusing to be drawn on if or when it would be entering the Filipino market.  

“China Telecom is currently having a preliminary study on the investment opportunity in the Philippines and no concrete plan has been determined yet,” the company said in a statement to news site, Caixin.