DICT orders NTC to review fees for mobile spectrum held by Globe, Smart

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THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to review spectrum user fees for specific frequency bands to determine whether the rights holders are making efficient use of them.

In a June 13 order, the DICT ordered the NTC to “review and make appropriate adjustments” to the spectrum user fees for the 610-790 megahertz (MHz), 790-960 MHz, and 1710-2025 MHz International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) bands.

“…Due to the rapid growth of [third generation] 3G and [fourth generation] 4G mobile as well as the global trend towards 5G, it has become necessary for the DICT to encourage and promote the use of currently allocated frequencies such that spectrum user fees shall be applied uniformly and without discrimination to all users under the same classification or category,” according to the order, signed by acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr.

Mr. Rio said that the NTC will have to determine if the spectrum is being used efficiently by the holders, which he identified as PLDT, Inc.,’s Smart Communications, Inc, Globe Telecom, Inc. and others.

“If they determine that they are not being used efficiently, they will have to increase spectrum user fees,” Mr. Rio said in a phone interview.

Mr. Rio said these were mostly awarded during the 1990s, and the fees will need updating at any rate.

He said that the fees range from about P5 million, while 3G fees are about P50 million. He said that the NTC will have to determine the appropriate increase.

“But if the NTC determines that these are being used efficiently, then maybe they will not increase,” he said.

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