DITO files competition complaints vs Globe, Smart

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

DITO Telecommunity Corp. announced on Monday that it filed complaints with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against PLDT, Inc.’s Smart Communication, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. for “failing to provide sufficient interconnection capacity” to allow phone calls from its subscribers.

The complaints were filed on “Monday morning,” DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel A. Tamano told reporters during a gathering in Taguig City.

PCC Officer-in-Charge Chairperson Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe confirmed this in an e-mailed statement, saying DITO had filed two separate complaints against Globe and Smart “for possible anti-competitive practice in their interconnection agreements.”

“Interconnection is an essential component of the telecommunications industry as it allows interoperability and exchange of calls, SMS (short message service), and other information from one network to another,” he noted.

The PCC official also said the commission has 10 days to decide whether or not to give due course to the complaint.

“If given due course, our Competition Enforcement Office will proceed to investigate the charges and if it subsequently finds sufficient basis, file with the Commission en banc a Statement of Objections against the allegedly erring entities,” Mr. Bernabe added.

DITO’s Mr. Tamano said the third telco player “has been trying to fix the problem” with Globe and Smart “for almost a year.”

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) requires an interconnection quality with a failure rate of no more than 1%, DITO Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo D. Santiago said.

“According to the NTC, there should only be one unsuccessful call out of 100 calls. The status is that 70 to 80 out of 100 calls are unsuccessful,” he added.

When asked if DITO was pursuing damages, Mr. Tamano responded: “We are not asking money from you. You only have to interconnect us.”

“It’s about interconnection, which is mandated by law. They’re not supposed to stop that,” he noted.

He said that poor interconnection quality hinders DITO’s growth. The company aims to capture 12 million users this year.

“It becomes very clear to us that it has been an abuse of their dominant position,” Mr. Tamano added.

In an e-mailed statement, the PLDT group said: “We are yet to receive a copy of the complaint, but we can assure the government and the public that PLDT and Smart have always supported and ensured fair competition in the telco industry.”

Maria Yolanda C. Crisanto, Globe’s chief sustainability and corporate communications officer, said separately: “We don’t have a copy of the complaint yet. Until such time, we will refrain from issuing a statement. Globe reiterates that it has always advocated for fair business practices and competing on a level playing field.”

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