Senate approves Mislatel's change of ownership

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate adopted a resolution allowing the transfer of ownership of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) to the consortium of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and China Telecom on Wednesday, February 6.

During the plenary, only 3 senators opposed House Concurrent Resolution No. 23, which grants the transfer of controlling interest from Mislatel's owners to the new partners in the consortium which is also called Mislatel.

Those who opposed the measure were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and senators Panfilo Lacson and Risa Hontiveros.

The Senate's move effectively helps the 3rd major telecommunications player with its franchise issues and allows it to operate.

Businessman Nicanor Escalante and other investors took over Mislatel, getting 70% of the company in 2015 – a move questioned by Drilon.

Drilon reiterated that any transfer of ownership must first get the approval of Congress.

Mislatel's franchise was also deemed invalid by some lawmakers and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines as it was unable to operate a year after the franchise approval.

Senate committee on public services chairperson Grace Poe earlier said she will "cure" provisions in the franchise to help improve internet speeds and telecommunications services in the country.

However, Poe clarified the move would not mean automatic renewal of Mislatel's franchise, which is set to expire in 2023.

Mislatel is expected to begin construction of infrastructure this year and is slated to spend a whopping P150 billion for 12 months. (IN CHARTS: Mislatel's rollout plan)

It aims for a commercial rollout by mid-2020. – 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.

image