• Court upholds Globe-Bayantel agreement


    THE Court of Appeals has upheld the order of the National Telecommunications Commission honoring Globe Telecom Inc.’s joint use agreement (JUA) with Bayantel.

    Smart Communications Inc. questioned NTC’s order allowing rival Globe to utilize the unused Bayantel allocated frequencies.

    But the appellate court’s 12th Division, in its 12-page decision dated January 16, junked the petition for certiorari filed by Smart for failing to prove the NTC’s “grave abuse of discretion.”

    The decision, penned by Associate Justice Victorial Isabel Paredes affirmed the ruling of NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba in allowing the JUA.

    “While Smart claims that the subject NTC letter granting the joint use of frequencies, is a patent nullity for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion . . . it has not substantiated such contention with hard evidence, arguing rather in generalities and self-serving theoretical assumptions,” the court said.

    Furthermore, Smart argued about what NTC should have done with the purported unused Bayantel-allocated frequencies, but failed to show that the grant of the joint use of frequencies is contrary to law, or is patent and gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion,” the ruling said.

    The appellate court said that Smart also failed to exhaust all remedies in the NTC before elevating their case. Globe and Bayantel had been improving their networks by using radio spectrum and sought the NTC approval of the joint use of frequencies along the 1800 megahertz (1750-1760 MHz; 1845-1855 MHz) assigned to the latter.

    This was opposed by Smart that stated that Bayantel was granted by Congress a franchise to establish radio stations for domestic telecommunications, radiophone, broadcasting and telecasting.

    Bayantel was also granted provisional authority by NTC to operate a nationwide cellular mobile telephone system, but Bayantel violated these conditions after it failed to have a fully operational mobile phone network within one year.

    The appellate court, however, said that the NTC has the administrative function to grant the joint use agreement, being the expert regulatory agency on the matter.

    “We hold that the grant of joint use agreement was issued in the exercise of administrative function of the NTC and not pursuant to a quasi-judicial functions,” the court pointed out.

    Other justices who concurred in the ruling were Isaias Dicdican and Michael Elbinias.


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