Government gives would-be market newcomers until 5 November to apply to take part in long-awaited licensing process

Companies wishing to become the Philippines’ third national telecoms operator have until 5 November to submit their applications, the government announced on Friday.

The country’s Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and regulatory body the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) together released the final documentation, or memorandum circular, outlining the rules governing the selection process for the new licensee.

The formalities surrounding the issue of the document will be finalised in October, after which would-be participants in the process will be able to obtain bidding documents from the NTC and lodge their bids, the DICT said.

The market newcomer – or New Major Player (NMP), as the government has dubbed the new entrant – should be named in December, the DICT said.

According to local publication the Inquirer, a number of Philippines-based companies have expressed interest in becoming the third operator, as have some big international names including China Telecom, SK, LG Uplus, Telenor, AT&T and Viettel.

The new player will provide competition for PLDT and Globe Telecom, which have had numerous accusations of poor service quality levelled at them in recent years.

The process of naming the third operator has taken some time. As a result, this summer the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened to intervene if the licensing process was not finalised quickly.