The President of the Philippines did not hold back in his fifth State of the Nation Address, telling major telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communications that services must improve or they will face closure
Yesterday, the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, gave his State of the Nation Address and contained within it were some strict words for the nation’s telcos.
The controversial President made it very clear that he views the country’s two leading telcos – Globe Telecom and Smart Communications – as not progressing nearly fast enough in their development of services.
“Don’t make us wait 10 years for services other countries are enjoying. Go and look for capital. If you are not ready to improve, I might as well close all of you,” said Duterte.
The President said that he wanted to see improvements by December this year or else the telcos would see serious consequences, threatening to “revert to line telephone” after “expropriating” the telcos’ frequencies.
Globe and Smart were quick to agree with the President’s call to action, with Globe noting that it had earmarked $1.2 billion for network and capacity builds. That said, the telcos did not entirely accept the blame for the delays, suggesting that acquiring permits from local governments and national agencies was a cause of some delay and had “hampered cellsite building and laying down of fibre to homes”, according to Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s senior vice president for corporate communications in a statement after the Address.
This is not the first that the Duterte has tried to incite the national telcos to improve their services. In 2018 he spearheaded the process of introducing a third player to the ecosystem, which in 2019 came to fruition with the official addition of the Mislatel Consortium. The new entrant is expected to launch commercial operations by March 2021.
Duterte also spoke at length about realising the creation of a Public Education Network to connect all public schools and Department of Education offices around the nation.
“We will prioritize the connection of all last-mile schools and those with no electricity supply and have it via satellite and energized by solar panels,” said Duterte. “In 2022, before I step down, the PEN shall be realized. I will do it.”
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