Globe-Bayan joint use deal gets NTC nod

Posted at 10/01/12 5:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved Globe Telecom Inc. and Bayan Telecommunications Inc.'s joint use of the mobile phone frequencies assigned to the Lopez-owned company.

The agency allowed Globe and Bayan's joint use of the 10 megahertz (MHz) of frequencies assigned to Bayan in the 1800 MHz spectrum for the provision of CMTS (cellular mobile telephone system) service.

"The primary purpose of the joint use is to improve efficiency and decongest the networks of the telcos to improve their services and comply with the quality of service prescribed by the Commission. Due to the rising incidence of mobile communications complaints on blocked calls or grade of service, drop calls and signal quality, and ­in line with the NTC mandate... The NTC has granted the telcos’ requests," the NTC said. 

Globe welcomed the NTC approval of its deal with Bayantel. 

"We are pleased with the decision of the NTC and rely on the validity and legality of the NTC order with regard to the joint use agreement with Bayantel," Atty. Froilan M. Castelo, head of Globe Corporate and Legal Services Group said. 

In its application to the NTC for approval, Globe said the joint use agreement will allow the company to address increasing demand for voice, SMS and mobile data services, and for Bayantel to be able to offer mobile telecommunications services nationwide. 

Also, the NTC allowed the joint use of Smart Communications, Smart Broadband and Sun Cellular operator Digital Mobile Philippines Inc. of its frequencies. 

NTC approved Smart and Smart Broadband's joint use of the frequencies assigned to the latter in the 800MHz bandwidth. 

Smart and Digitel were also given the go-signal for the joint use of frequencies assigned to Smart in the 800Mhz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, and 2100Mhz band. Smart and Sun were also allowed joint use of the frequencies assigned to the latter in the 1800Mhz and 2100Mhz band.

NTC director Edgardo Cabarios said approving the joint-use of frequencies by telcos will provide better quality of service for consumers. 

"We are actually helping all of them because if they are allowed to co-use frequencies of other carriers then that would redound to better quality for both cellular voice, text messaging and broadband services because they would have more capacity," he said. 

Smart opposes Globe-Bayan deal

However, rival Smart Communications raised opposition to the joint use deal between Globe and Bayan. 

Enrico L. Espanol, head of Smart's Legal and Regulatory Department, said the NTC should initiate recall proceedings on the mobile frequencies assigned to Bayan. He said the NTC should have bidded out Bayan's mobile frequencies. 

"It is undeniable that Bayantel has not been using these frequencies for at least one year considering that it has not been providing any CMTS service to the general public.  Consequently, these unused frequencies assigned to Bayantel should be recalled by the Honorable Commission upon service of notice and hearing,” he added.

In response, Globe's Castelo said Smart should have filed its opposition when Bayan was applying to renew its CMTS permit with the NTC. 

"If Smart has taken that position, then it should have opposed the move of Bayantel for an extension of their license to provide CMTS services last year.  The NTC decision granting the motion of Bayantel was also issued last year and has become final, executory and unappealable.  Bayantel is currently under rehabilitation and the rehabilitation court has ordered the preservation of all assets and privileges of Bayantel including its spectrum.  This is the reason why the NTC cannot validly recall their spectrum assets," Castelo said. 

NTC's Cabarios defended the decision not to recall the CMTS frequencies of Bayan, which is undergoing rehabilitation. 

"We have to take into account that Bayan is under rehab. If its assets are gone then that would affect its ongoing rehab thereby posing a great threat to its viability. The purpose of rehab is for the company to be in full swing once more. That’s why we didn’t recall Bayan’s frequencies," he said. 

Cabarios said the assigned frequencies will only be automatically recalled by the Commission when assignees of the subject frequencies cease to operate.

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