• NTC pushed on 700 MHz issue

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    THE least the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) could do amid the tug-of-war over the 700 megahertz (MHz) spectrum in the telecommunications industry is to decide whether to redistribute it or not, leading telecom player Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) said.

    “At least they should decide if they want to give us a share or they do not want to give us a share,” PLDT regulatory affairs and policy head Ray Espinosa said in a recent interview.

    A decision from the NTC would allow PLDT to take the proper course of action, he said.

    “If they decide, [then]we would have a clear course of action, because now it is just in limbo,” Espinosa said.

    The two largest players in the telecommunications industry in the Philippines—PLDT and Globe Telecom (Globe)—have been lobbying for years for the redistribution of the 700MHz spectrum, of which San Miguel Corp. (SMC) owns 90 percent.

    Both PLDT and Globe claim that the redistribution of the 700 MHz spectrum, which is not currently being utilized, would help boost internet speeds in the Philippines.

    PLDT and Globe said that the proper utilization of the frequency band would enable the deployment of LTE [(Long-Term Evolution, commonly marketed as 4G LTE)-based connections and fixed broadband internet.

    The two telcos also claim that if the 700 MHz band is redistributed, the cost of broadband services would go down.

    Espinosa said PLDT and its competitor need more frequencies because they are currently operating and have millions of subscribers to serve.

    “Obviously we are in need of more frequencies. They [SMC] have no service yet and even if they launch a service that is too much frequency,” he said.

    SMC has said it will soon be launching its own broadband internet service, reportedly in partnership with Australian telco giant Telstra Corp.

    In a recent interview, SMC chairman Ramon Ang said the conglomerate will launch its own broadband internet service in a few months’ time.

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