Government renews Now Telecom’s CMTS license

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By Denise A. Valdez Reporter

VELARDE-LED Now Telecom Co., Inc. renewed its government license to operate as a telecommunications company last week.

Listed parent Now Corp. said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Monday that the company has been awarded its cellular mobile telephone system (CMTS) license by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The license gives Now Telecom the authority to “install, operate and maintain” its network, and upgrade its existing system to become a “nationwide wireless communications network,” allowing the company to facilitate mobile telephony and multimedia transmission in its areas of operations.

“We reiterate our belief that at present, there is an insufficiency in telecommunications facilities that can effectively address the needs for day-to-day real time operations…,” Now Telecom President Rodolfo P. Pantoja was quoted as saying in the statement.

The company said it joins Smart Communications, Inc., Globe Telecom, Inc. and Dito Telecommunity Corp. in the telcos in the Philippines that currently have a CMTS license.

Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said there may still be room for a fourth or fifth major telco player in the Philippines, as it seeks to claw back radio frequencies from the current telco and broadcast owners.

“What we want to do is conduct a performance audit on the process and the performance of the third telco. Kung maganda ang performance nila [If they perform well], then we’ll consider, but I cannot say when, the fourth or fifth telco,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II told reporters Monday.

He explained the DICT is currently working to rationalize the distribution of radio frequencies to telcos and reallocate these resources to allow for the entry of new telecommunications players.

“It will require getting back frequencies that are allocated. It requires a frequency management policy… (But) I cannot be locked into certain timetables because as we speak, variables are coming up,” Mr. Honasan said.

But he noted the focus of the DICT now is to monitor the performance of the third telco player, Dito, which is required to fulfill specific commitments within a five-year period.

Ang gusto nating focus muna is itong third telco [We want to focus first on the third telco]… We will take it one step at a time,” Mr. Honasan said.

Dito, formerly Mislatel, was named the official third major telco player by the government last year. It is backed by China Telecommunications Corp. and Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp.

The government is requiring Dito to deliver a minimum broadband speed of 27 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 37.03% of the national population by July next year.