China Telecom Corporation Limited has been chosen by the Chinese government to pour investments in the Philippines as the third major player in the telecommunications industry,
Acting Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Secretary Eliseo Rio told Reuters that the Chinese telco firm plans to invest in the Philippines’ telecommunications business.
“The Chinese government selected China Telecom to invest in the Philippines upon invitation by President Duterte during the bilateral meeting last Nov. 16,” Rio said.
As per the laws on foreign ownership limitations in the Philippines, Rio said that China Telecom should look for a partner in the country on a 60-40 basis. Foreigners can only own up to 40 percent of local telecoms firms.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that the government is pushing for the entry of another player to address the country’s telecommunication woes.
“Kailangan mo nga iyong makikipag-partner doon sa hindi pipitsugin, at of course iyong mayroon nang telecom franchise,” Andanar said.
“Minamadali na ito ng gobyerno natin sapagka’t habang tumatagal eh nabubuwisit ang mga kababayan natin sa mga dropped calls at mabagal na internet,” he added.
China Telecom is one of the biggest telecommunications firms in China and has shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its report after the first half of 2016 showed the company having 230 million subscribers, which accounts for 16.8 percent of China’s market share. Until the end of June, the company has operating revenues of RMN 176.828 billion and a net profit of RMB. 11.673 billion.
“Ang Presidente mismo ay binuksan niya na ang pintuan ng bansa natin para magkaroon ng third player,” he said.
In November, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque mentioned how Duterte offered the Chinese a chance to enter the Philippine telecom market during his bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the ASEAN Summit.
“During the bilateral talks between President Duterte and the Chinese Premier, President Duterte offered to the People’s Republic of China the privilege to operate the third telecoms carries in the country,” he said.
In 2007, the Philippine government had a multimillion-dollar communications deal with Chinese company ZTE under the Arroyo administration for a national broadband network. However, the project was involved in a lot of anomalies, such as corruption among government officials and overpricing.