New telecommunications player Mislatel consortium has adjusted its schedule to start commercial operations to early 2021 because of the delay in the resolution of its congressional franchise.
As of March 15, 2019, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has yet to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to Mislatel.
Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation, one of three companies that make up the consortium, told the Philippine Stock Exchange on March 15 that the consortium still plans to roll out its five-year plan by late 2020, “under the consideration that its CPCN will be awarded by March”.
Chelsea said the delay in the resolution of Mislatel’s franchise prompted the group to postpone commercial operations.
The Senate approved on February 6, 2019 a measure allowing the transfer of ownership of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Incorporated (Mislatel) to Mislatel consortium.
Aside from Chelsea, the consortium is composed of Chelsea’s parent company Udenna Corporation and China Telecommunications Corporation, the Chinese state-owned company that operates the biggest fixed line network in China.
Both Chelsea, which has changed its corporate name to Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and Udenna are led by Davao businessman Dennis Uy.
While the Senate has concurred with House Concurrent Resolution 23 which formalized the sale of the controlling interest of Mislatel to the consortium, the House of Representatives has yet to issue a formal declaration that it does not object to this resolution.
DICT acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. was quoted in newspaper reports as saying that the DICT will wait for official acts from the Senate and the House before issuing a CPCN to Mislatel.
As this developed, the DICT announced that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two more tower firms on March 14, 2019.
This brings to 15 the total number of companies that have expressed interest in taking part in the government’s common tower initiative. The latest to sign up were Shinheung Telecom Company Ltd. from South Korea and Alt-Global Solutions, Inc., a local company.
Under the government’s common tower program, the 15 participating companies will build cell sites for the use of telecom companies operating in the Philippines. The program is seen to help Mislatel accelerate its rollout and compete with existing telecom companies.
Under its five-year rollout plan, Mislatel committed to increase basic internet speed in the Philippines to 55 Megabits per second (Mbps) and serve at least 84 percent of the population on its fifth year of operation. (Ventures Cebu)