Mislatel rollout may be pushed back to after elections – DICT

MANILA, Philippines – The rollout of 3rd telecommunications player Mislatel may be delayed until after the elections, as both chambers of Congress need to resolve the consortium's franchise issues, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr said on Monday, February 18.

Mislatel's 90-day post-qualification period lapsed last Sunday, February 17.

But Rio said that the National Telecommunications Commission cannot grant the frequencies and the certificate of public convenience and necessity unless Congress comes out with a document certifying that it has approved the franchise transfer from the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company to the Mislatel consortium.

The consortium is composed of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and Chelsea Logistics, as well as their foreign partner China Telecom. 

While the Senate already adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 23, which approves the transfer of controlling interest, Rio believes both chambers still need to meet due to some differences in wordings.

Congress is currently on break until May 19. Lawmakers only have a window from May 20 to June 7 to work on the matter.

"Congress can come up with a special session. But I don't think they will do that," Rio said.

Mislatel is aiming for a commercial rollout by late 2020. However, that may also be pushed back to a later date. (IN CHARTS: Mislatel's rollout plan)

According to the consortium's timeline, it should have been able to secure all necessary regulatory documents by March. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.