The Philippines is in the process of opening up its telecommunications market to a third player

Vietnam’s state backed telecommunications firm, Viettel, has expressed an interest in partnering with the as yet unnamed third telco poised to enter the Filipino market. 

"[Viettel] expressed their interest when they called at my office last week," Eliseo Rio, officer in charge at the Department of Information and Communication Technology, told members of the press this week. 

President Duterte has publicly called for a third player to enter the Filipino telecoms market, and has extended an invitation to a Chinese firm to form a new company in partnership with the Filipino government. It is widely believed that company was China Telecom.

President Duterte wanted the new telco to be up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2018. However, China Telecom has remained tight lipped on whether it will accept the invitation to enter the Filipino market. With the end of Q1 2018 fast approaching, there has been much speculation about who will ultimately partner with the Filipino government to launch the new company. 

Viettel is the latest in a long line of (largely South East Asian) companies to express an interest in entering the Filipino market. Whether their application is being seriously considered by the Filipino government, or is merely being used as a means of hurrying China Telecom along, remains to be seen.