Globe Telecom Inc. wants the National Telecommunications Commission to distribute the unused frequency held by San Miguel Corp. to fix the Internet speed woes in the Philippines in preparation for the explosion of mobile data use.
“Part of the solution to the clamor for faster Internet is the harmonization of the 700 Mhz [megahertz] frequency,” Globe legal counsel Froilan Castelo said.
The 700 MHz band, located above the TV broadcast channels, penetrates buildings and walls and covers larger areas. Mobile wireless service providers in other countries have been using the spectrum to offer mobile broadband services.
“Giving active and operating telecommunications companies access to this band will allow the industry to provide broadband and data services at faster speeds and in a more cost-efficient manner,” he added.
Castelo said as early as 2005, Globe wrote to the National Telecommunications Commission requesting for an allocation and assignment of frequencies within the 700 Mhz and 800 Mhz for its broadband wireless network, but NTC did not act favorably on its request.
Castelo’s statement came after Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. pressed the NTC to auction off part of the 700 Mhz frequency band to industry players who actually have more subscribers than San Miguel.
PLDT head for regulatory affairs Ray Espinosa earlier said the 700-megahertz spectrum was “very important” to provide faster Internet broadband services.
“Today, there is about 100 megahertz of that spectrum which is actually all of it, that is in the hands of a few possibly related companies,” Espinosa said.
San Miguel holds 90 Mhz out of the total 100 Mhz on the 700 Mhz band. The company’s Wi-Tribe and High Frequency Telecommunications control 80 Mhz and 10 Mhz respectively, while New Century Telecommunications holds the other 10 Mhz.
Liberty Telecoms Holding Inc., SMC’s holding firm for Wi-Tribe, was actually placed under corporate rehabilitation and debt restructuring in 2005. Liberty suspended operations due to financial difficulties and lack of capital required to operate.
Liberty reported a net loss of P432.95 million in the first semester of 2015.
San Miguel plans to form a mobile phone joint venture with Telstra Corp. of Australia.
Telstra chief executive Andy Penn earlier said San Miguel would be a “very strong” partner in the Philippines because of its spectrum holdings.
Telstra plans to invest less than $1 billion in the Philippines to roll out the telecom network.
Telstra currently operates customer service centers in the Philippines that serves its clients globally. San Miguel earlier said it planned to launch mobile broadband services as early as January next year.