No Indian company is considering to enter the Philippine telecommunications industry as its third major player, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim to the contrary, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.
“So far, no Indian company has expressed interest to us [about participating]in the selection process for the third telco player,” DICT Officer-in-Charge Eliseo Rio Jr. told reporters on Thursday.
His statement came after the President said during a recent Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Phils. Inc. event in Malacañang that an Indian telco was looking to invest in the sector.
“[I]t was an invitation for the Indian government to encourage their telcos to invest in the Philippines, as what he (Duterte) did with China,” the DICT official said.
Asked if an Indian telco could still meet the deadline for the selection process, Rio said it could still catch up, “because we intend to accept bids [in the]middle part of May.”
DICT plans to announce the winning bidder five days after the submission of bids, he added.
Interested applicants had asked for a deadline extension, as the government originally wanted to announce the third telco player in March.
The extension is not to give time for an Indian company to apply, but to ensure that more companies or consortia would be able to participate in the bidding process, Rio said.
This came a month after the DICT chief revealed that three private consortia, each led by Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp., NOW Corp. and Converge ICT Solutions, were interested to become the third player.
It also came days after the department revealed the draft circular for the terms of reference on the selection of the new player.
According to the circular, a prospective telco must have net worth of at least P10 billion, a congressional franchise, and technical expertise in order to compete against the so-called telco duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.