Failed 3rd telco bidders file motion for reconsideration

By November 9, 2018Property News

Auction officials and telco representatives open boxes with bid documents at the National Telecommunications Commission office in Quezon City — PHOTO BY DENISE A. VALDEZPHOTO BY DENISE A. VALDEZBy Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
THE two participants who were disqualified from bidding for the new major telco player have asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reconsider its decisions.
Sear Telecommunications Consortium, led by TierOne Communications International Inc. and LCS Group of Companies (Sear-LCS-TierOne), and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) filed separate motions for reconsideration on Friday after the bidding’s selection committee disqualified over the lack of required documents.
The bid of Sear-LCS-TierOne wasn’t allowed to undergo further evaluation by the selection committee for the lack of a “participation security” worth P700 million. PT&T faced the same dilemma, but for not submitting the NTC certification proving its 10-year experience as a telco provider in a national scale.
“It will avail of the remedy available under the Selection Rules, by filing a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) within the prescribed period. In its MR, Sear will demonstrate its compliance with the requirements, which it hopes will qualify it to participate in the Opening of the Second Submission Documents,” Sear-LCS-TierOne said in a statement late Thursday.
The group also accused the franchise holder of the provisional winner, Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel), of breaching a contract with one of its partners, DigiPhil Technology.
“Mislatel is guilty of fraudulent and obstructive practice. For this reason, the selection committee can declare a failure of such selection process…,” it said.
The group composed of China Telecommunications Corp., Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. had used Mislatel’s franchise as vehicle for its participation in the bidding.
“[T]here is a Damocles’ sword hanging over the NTC, and the new major player selection process would have been for naught… The best option for NTC would be to declare a failure of this process and commence another selection process,” Sear-LCS-TierOne said.
PT&T, on the other hand, argued the bidding terms of reference which required a participant to have operated for 10 years on a “national scale” as including “or particular regions thereof.”
The NTC did not issue a certification to PT&T indicating that it meets this requirement, as it said in an Oct. 11 clarificatory bulletin that the qualifier only applies to foreign companies.
“The interpretation is erroneous because there is no distinction between foreign and local company in the terms of reference insofar as the applicability of the term ‘regional operations’ is concerned. This is clearly discriminatory against Filipino telco companies,” PT&T said in a statement on Friday.
It added that a “mere clarificatory bulletin” should not change what’s written in the final terms of reference, which was published as a memorandum circular and it said thus has “force and effect of a law.”
The selection committee now has three days to review the motions for reconsideration submitted by the participants. Once any of the two are granted, the win of Mislatel Consortium may be tested.
Mislatel Consortium won Wednesday’s third telco bidding after earning 456.80 points out of the maximum 500 points. It committed for its five years of operations a cumulative coverage of 84.01% of the population, total capital expenditure and operating expenditure of P257 billion, and minimum average broadband speed of 27 Megabits per second (Mbps) in its first year and 55 Mbps in succeeding years.