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Supreme Court urged to revoke PHP 70-billion telco buyout deal

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The Supreme Court has been asked to revoke the controversial buyout deal of conglomerate giant San Miguel Corporation's (SMC) telco assets. 
Supreme Court urged to revoke PHP 70-billion telco buyout deal
Globe Telecom and PLDT 

In a petition filed by lawyers Joseph Lemuel Baligod Baquiran and Ferdinand Tecson, they said the transaction was "unconstitutional" and "anticompetitive."

The duopoly (of PLDT-Smart and Globe) owns a staggering volume of the scarce public resource of radio spectrum, which prevents, restricts or lessens free competition in the telecommunication and broadband/internet industry.

Industry giants PLDT and Globe Telecom purchased SMC's 700-megahertz (MHz) radio frequencies worth PHP 70 billion. 

Tecson and Baquiran said the acquired spectrum was a highly valuable and very scarce public resource since it is able to travel longer distances, requiring fewer cell towers and penetrating through building walls, elevators and even through underground parking lots.

The deal allowed PLDT and Globe to hold about 80 percent of available frequencies, hampering to level the playing field for the new major telco player, they claimed. 
Supreme Court of the Philippines logo
Supreme Court of the Philippines logo

The two lawyers also argued the frequencies should be awarded instead to "best qualified" industry players. 

The government is ramping up process for the third telco search as it targets to name the new major player before the year ends. 

Currently, the initiative already enticed nine firms, namely TierOne Communications, Udenna Corp., Telenor Group, NOW Telecom, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp., China Telecommunications Corp. and Austria's Mobiltel Holding GmbH. There were two other unidentified firms wanting to bid for the third telco slot. 

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