PLDT Inc. will be formalizing its intent of not seeking compensation for surrendered frequencies that the government wants to award to a third telecommunications player.
PLDT — one-half of a so-called duopoly along with Globe Telecom — is preparing an official letter waiving all rights and benefits involving Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise (CURE) frequencies turned over in 2012, company chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Tuesday.
“Formally, we have to send them (the National Telecommunications Commission) a letter, which we will [do]…,” Pangilinan told reporters at the sidelines of a US-Philippines business forum in Makati City.
He declined to set a submission date but said the letter was already being drafted.
“There’s a process internally dictated by our governance. I cannot just send a letter because I just want to send a letter…,” Pangilinan said.
“But we will, don’t worry, it’s the public position of PLDT. We have already taken a public position that we will waive all rights and benefits to the frequencies of CURE, which have been turned over to NTC,” he added.
The government awarded 3G frequencies to CURE in 2006. The company, which was owned by Roberto Ongpin, was acquired by PLDT in 2008 and subsequently rebranded as Red Mobile.
CURE’s frequencies were surrendered the NTC as one of the conditions for approval of PLDT’s 2011 acquisition of Digitel — a deal that saw the dominant telco take over the third-ranked Sun Cellular brand.
PLDT was supposed to be compensated for its investments in Cure but Pangilinan said this was “no longer a big deal” and that the group “sort of forgot about it.”
Pangilinan also sought to clarify reports that he wanted to be paid P3 billion for the surrendered frequencies..
“I didn’t mention any number … I was asked that, that was the number mentioned by somebody else. I never said … you have to pay us X for us to return the frequency, there is no such thing…,” he explained.
Earlier this month, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio Jr. announced in a Facebook post that Pangilinan had agreed to surrender the CURE frequencies at “absolutely no cost” following President Rodrigo Duterte’s refusal to buy frequencies from private companies.
The frequencies will be awarded to the third telco player, which the government wants to name later this year, that is expected to challenge PLDT and Globe’s hold on the domestic market.