Converge backs out of third telco bid, says no level playing field

Converge ICT Solutions Inc. on Wednesday decided to not to pursue the third telco slot and criticized the way that the government conducting the selection process.

In an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the third telco bidding in Quezon City, Converge special assistant to the president Aristoteles Elviña noted the absence of a level playing field.

“It’s not a level playing field, because the existing players right now were not asked to do what we’re being asked to do,” Elviña said.

The bidding system approved by the government takes into consideration the highest committed level of service (HCLOS).

The HCLOS model involves a point system that corresponds to the committed speed, coverage, and capital and operational expenditures.

“We have to put up a band, we have to put up the speed, we have to put up the coverage,” Elviña said, noting that those requirements were not imposed on incumbent players PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.

“Were they demanded to cover the whole country? They were not. Were they demanded to perform on minimum speed? They were not. Were they demanded to put up ‘X’ amount of money? They were not,” he added.

Elviña questioned the participation of a state-owned company in the bidding.

China Telecommunications Corp., which partnered with Udenna Corp., is state-owned.

“One of the bidders, I won’t mention … If one of the bidders won, it’s a state-owned company. Can they now go against the state if they do not fulfill the requirements?” Elviña noted.

“Can we file charges or go against them? I don’t think so. Because even what they did with the South China Sea, we didn’t do anything,” he added.

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