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NTC sets PLDT-Digitel deal hearing on May 23

May 5, 2011 4:10pm
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set May 23, a Monday, as the date it will hear the request of telecoms giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to approve the latter's acquisition of Gokongwei-led Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (Digitel).

In a notice of hearing, the NTC has likewise requested parties opposed to the petition to appear and file their verified opposition to the request.

"Failure on the part of any affected party to file their opposition on time of the scheduled hearing shall be construed as a waiver of their right to be heard and the Commission shall proceed to hear and decide the petition on its merits," the Commission added.

PLDT entered into a share-swap deal in late March with JG Summit Holdings, parent company of Digitel, to acquire an initial 51.55% equity worth P69.2 billion in Digitel.

Groups have called the move "anti-competition" since it brings the telco market back to its duopoly days, clamoring for the NTC to intervene in the deal.

Second-ranked Globe Telecom, one of those more vocal about their opposition to the deal, had earlier called on the government to intervene, saying "[it] should act to preserve the competitiveness of the industry."

If the deal pushes through, PLDT will own roughly 70% of the local telecommunications market, leaving Globe with a paltry 30%.

It had also asked the NTC to redistribute frequencies from PLDT in order to "level the playing field."

Malacañang earlier said that national and consumer interest should reign over the proposed deal and that it had asked its economic managers and the Justice Department to study the deal. — TJD, GMA News
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