3rd telco Mislatel brushes off national security worries

MANILA, Philippines – Executives of Udenna Corporation, the majority shareholders of 3rd telecommunications player Mislatel, assured Filipinos that national security will not be compromised under their deal with China Telecom.

"We are a Filipino company. We will never allow our national security to be undermined," said Adel Tamano, Udenna Corporation and Mislatel spokesperson, on the sidelines of the bilateral meeting between the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and China Telecom on Tuesday, November 20.

Tamano said national security and cybersecurity concerns would be addressed once they unveil their rollout plan.

Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation teamed up with China Telecom and won the 3rd major telco player slot. China Telecom owns only at most 40% of the consortium, the maximum allowed for foreign companies under the 1987 Constitution.

However, analysts worry over reports surrounding the Chinese state-owned company, amid Beijing's aggressive cyber surveillance and misdirection of large amounts of internet traffic to monitor other countries. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Disturbing red flags in the 3rd telco selection)

Tamano also insisted that they did not easily win the bid, contrary to speculations that the consortium was favored because the Philippine government prefers a Chinese company.

"[The bid] has difficult requirements. This is not a sweetheart deal, this is very tough," he said.

Mislatel committed to spend P257 billion in 5 years for the telco race. Under the terms of reference, it is required to deposit 10% of the amount. (IN CHARTS: Udenna Corp-China Telecom's promises)

Failure to deliver their commitments would forfeit the bond.

Uy, president and chief executive officer of Udenna Corporation, also brushed off speculations that his ties with President Rodrigo Duterte helped Mislatel bag the 3rd telco slot.

"I am not a stranger to entering new industries and [becoming] a disruptor for the benefit of consumers," he said.

Uy was able to grow listed firm Phoenix Petroleum from Davao City. It is currently the 3rd major oil player in the country.

He also has business interests in shipping and logistics, as well as restaurants and hotels. – 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.

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