Manila: Business – Watchdog to pursue ‘appropriate legal steps’

PCC notes continued complaints of poor telco services


The country’s competition watchdog will pursue efforts to review Globe Telecom and PLDT’s multibillion-peso purchase of San Miguel’s telecommunications assets despite a setback at the Court of Appeals.

“We are firm in our resolve to perform our mandate under the law,” the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said in a statement on Monday following a Manila Times report that the appellate court had affirmed the legality of the P69.1-billion deal.

“We note that a year after the sale, the public continues to complain of slow, expensive and poor quality of internet and mobile services,” the PCC said, adding that “this has further fueled our determination to safeguard the market and promote the interests of consumers.”

Noting that it had yet to receive an official copy of the court ruling, it said that “we will take the appropriate legal steps to move this multi-billion acquisition case forward.”

Globe and PLDT have yet to issue official statements on the matter but PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the ruling would allow both telcos to “proceed with the work of building the relevant infrastructure.”

Globe, in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, said “we have not received acopy of the decision … and are thus not able to comment further on the matter as of now”.

Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc. – the country’s biggest telecommunications companies – jointly purchased San Miguel’s telecommunications businesses and assets, including a much-prized frequency, after the latter gave up on plans to compete against the duopoly.

The PCC sought to conduct an extensive review of the deal but company officials claimed that rules in effect at the time of the transaction only mandated the submission of a formal notice to the competition watchdog.

The CA in August of last year issued a preliminary injunction, which it made permanent in the latest decision.
The PCC, meanwhile, earlier this year elevated the case to the Supreme Court.

Consumer groups have criticized the deal, noting that telecommunications services in the country remain lacking.
PLDT’s Pangilinan noted the concern and said the telco would proceed with expanding its 3G and 4G networks.
“Whatever the ruling might be we have to proceed because we’ve been criticized for our service,” he said.

Courtesy: The Manila Times | BY MA. LISBET K. ESMAEL |  ON


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