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PCC to start probe on DITO’s complaints vs. Globe, Smart

The Philippine Competition Commission said it found "reasonable grounds" to start a preliminary inquiry into the complaints filed by DITO Telecommmunity against Globe Telecom and PLDT’s Smart Communications.
File photo: Globe, DITO, Smart

Probe on DITO’s complaints vs. Globe, Smart

The PCC Enforcement Office (CEO) will look into the allegations in the complaints for possible violations of Section 15 of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) pertaining to abuse of dominance. The CEO will also study whether other violations of the PCA pertaining to anti-competitive agreements have been committed, the anti-trust body said as reported by GMA News Online.

Early this month, DITO filed cases before the country’s competition watchdog against its competitors over interconnection issues.

DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano earlier said that the group was experiencing a "state of non-connection" with the dominant telcos.

He said they were "constrained" to file the complaints as the current situation is "unfair" for DITO subscribers.

PCC said it will “coordinate and consult with the National Telecommunications Commission and other relevant authorities for regulatory and technical considerations.”

It emphasized that it takes complaints of anti-competitive behavior "very seriously." It also reminded telco players "with substantial market power, not only in the telecommunications industry but across sectors, of their responsibility to compete fairly and to adhere to the principles of competition."

Tamano said DITO welcomes this development.

From the onset this case has not been about mere commercial terms but rather is about public interest in interconnection between the telco players and fostering genuine competition in the industry, he said.

Meanwhile, both Globe and Smart also said they welcome the inquiry to be conducted by the PCC.

Specifically, Globe welcomes the opportunity to present to the PCC how DITO violated the terms and conditions of its Interconnection Agreement with us which prompted the filing of a previous case with the NTC, Globe said.

Likewise, we reiterate our view that this is a clear case of forum shopping since a similar case for the same issues is pending with the NTC, it added.

Smart also expressed willingness to cooperate in the inquiry.

However, it noted that DITO must first address the serious and continuing deficiencies in its own network that have allowed criminals to abuse interconnection facilities by fraudulently masking international calls as domestic, thereby prejudicing Smart subscribers who are victimized by scams, and depriving the government of tax revenue, and Smart of toll income.

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