The Philippine telecoms regulator has given the country’s two main operators a year to boost chronically slow internet speeds or it will revoke approval to take over prized spectrum agreed as part of a $1.5 billion deal this week.
The deal for use of the 700 megahertz spectrum is part of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) and Globe Telecom’s joint acquisition of conglomerate San Miguel Corp’s telecoms business for 69.1 billion pesos ($1.48 billion).
“We gave them one year to improve the service,” National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios told Reuters by telephone. “The idea there is for us to close the gap because we are far behind our neighbours like Malaysia and Singapore.”
The Philippines has one of the slowest internet services in Asia, placing 21st out of 22 countries, according to analytic firm Ookla.
PLDT spokesman Ramon Isberto said his firm is mobilizing resources to be able to start using the 700 Mhz spectrum and other frequencies “as early as possible within the year”.
“We gave a timeline that said mobile internet services will improve progressively within the next 12 months,” said Yoly Crisanto, a Globe spokeswoman.