In Q1 of 2011, the Philippines telco juggernaut PLDT, announced that it will acquire 51.55% of Digitel’s stake — amounting to Php 69.2 billion at the time the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the acquisition late last year. The acquisition raised concerns among subscribers for possible monopoly of telecom services, however, NTC has set conditions before it approved the PLDT-Digitel merger. One of such conditions is for PLDT to continue the “unlimited” offers of Sun Cellular, the country’s third largest mobile carrier which was then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digitel.

Red Mobile

Another significant condition set by NTC is for PLDT to surrender to the regulator one of the 3G frequencies licensed to Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise, Inc. (CURE), or more popularly known as Red Mobile. Red Mobile is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Smart Communications, a mobile and internet service provider in the country which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PLDT as well.

Just recently, it has been reported that CURE or Red Mobile has formally surrendered one of its 3G frequencies to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on schedule, in compliance to the regulator’s conditions. “CURE and all its remaining assets, including its congressional franchise and 10 megahertz 3G license, has been surrendered to the NTC for bidding.”

Ahead of NTC’s schedule to conduct a competitive auction, Globe Telecom has already announced its interest for CURE’s 3G spectrum.

We’ve been vocal about our interest to bid for CURE’s 3G spectrum as part of our drive to provide our subscribers with a better network, especially with the growth of smartphones and the explosion of mobile data use,” said Atty. Froilan M. Castelo, Head for Corporate and Legal Services of Globe. We thank the NTC for closely monitoring post-merger activities and ensuring that all agreements have been fulfilled.

On another note, Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu looks at the divestment of 3G frequencies as a welcome move. He believes that “the availability of more 3G frequency is an opportunity for Globe” and “that it can serve customers better than its competition especially in light of the ongoing network modernization and transformation initiatives”.

Though the Globe executive sees the bidding “won’t be easy given the players involved”, yet he’s still gearing up to winning the auction.