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PCC mulls legal options after CA upholds legality of telco deal

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THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) vowed to pursue other legal options after the Court of Appeals (CA) quashed its bid to review PLDT, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc.’s acquisition of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunications assets.

“(The PCC) will take the appropriate legal steps to move this multi-billion acquisition case forward… We note that a year after the sale, the public continues to complain of slow, expensive and poor quality internet and mobile services,” the competition watchdog said in a statement on Monday.

In a ruling dated Oct. 18, the CA’s former 12th division upheld the legality of the $1.5-billion deal.

It also ordered the PCC to permanently stop its review of the acquisition.

“A writ of prohibition is hereby issued precluding the (PCC), its employees, agents or persons acting for and its behalf from conducting a full review and/or investigation of the subject acquisition,” the ruling read.

Also, the CA ordered the PCC “to recognize the subject acquisition as deemed approved by operation of law.”

The country’s two largest telecoms, PLDT and Globe Telecom, last year purchased from San Miguel the 700 megahertz spectrum network, prized for its wider reach and compatibility with fourth-generation (4G) telecommunications services.

However, the competition watchdog sought to review the deal, which was seen as strengthening the country’s telecommunications duopoly.

For its part, Globe and PLDT said they welcome competition and are making every effort to boost services.

“We will proceed to expand and with the build-out of our 3G and 4G,” PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Monday. PLDT’s broadband speed and coverage has increased since the telco deal, he added.

Globe has not received a copy of the decision and could not comment on the matter, the telco told the stock exchange. San Miguel was not immediately available for comment.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. with Reuters and ALESJ

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