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3rd telco member refutes Singson: Mislatel has no deal with TierOne

Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel), one of the members of the consortium declared as the provisional third telco player, on Saturday refuted the claims of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson that it has contractual obligations with a subsidiary of TierOne Communications.

"On the claims by Mr. Chavit Singson that TierOne has an existing and exclusive contract with Mislatel specifically for the selection process for the NMP (new major player) for the telecommunications industry, the simple fact is that Mislatel has no contract with TierOne," the telco said in a statement.

Last Friday, Singson claimed that Mislatel Consortium does not deserve to be named the provisional third major telco player since a member of the consortium—Mislatel—has contractual obligations with Digiphil, which is a part of SEAR Telecom Group. 

The former Ilocus Sur governor was referring to the joint venture agreement entered into by the Mislatel with Digiphil—subsidiary of TierOne Communications also of SEAR Telecom Group—back in May 30 this year, stating that both parties will serve affordable and reliable access to broadband, value added services, internet applications and content, telecom and other ICT-related services.

The same joint venture agreement also states that Mislatel will be Digiphil’s exclusive partner in the utilization of frequencies, permits, licenses or authorizations that may be approved through the application or petitions mentioned herein, except of both parties consent to utilization thereof by third parties.

But Mislatel said what it had was a "terminated contract with a company called DigiPhil that was meant for small projects like VSAT."

"To be very clear, the contract with Digiphil was not intended for the purpose of submitting a bid with the NTC for the NMP for the telecommunications industry. A simple reading of the contract shows that it makes absolutely no reference to the third telco bid," it said.

"Moreover, the contract was nevertheless terminated on October 5, 2018," it added.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) declared the Mislatel Consortium –composed of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp., its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics, Mislatel, and foreign partner China Telecom –as the provisional third telco. 

Singson-led SEAR Telecom, composed of LCS Group and TierOne, and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. had appealed their respective disqualifications from third telco selection process, insisting that their bids were qualified.

"TierOne submitted a failed bid with the NTC although they had a valid franchise (Sear). Their bid was disqualified not because of any act on the part of Mislatel but rather merely because they were unable to secure the required participation security, which was required by the NTC’s Terms of Reference (TOR) and the Instructions to Participants (ITP) for the selection process," Mislatel said.

"Unlike Tierone, Mislatel has complied with all of the NTC’s requirements and this is why it has been conferred Provisional NMP status. The NTC selection process has been fair and transparent and for failure to even comply with a basic requirement, TierOne has been rightfully disqualified," it added.

Mislatel also addressed questions concerning the validity of its franchise.

"The Mislatel franchise is unquestionably valid and subsisting," it said.

Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon earlier questioned the validity of the Mislatel franchise as he alleged that the telco's congressional franchise has lapsed for failing to list in the stock market.

"The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) itself had issued a list of national telecommunications franchises that were eligible for the selection process for the New Major Player (NMP) for the telecommunications industry," Mislatel said.

"In addition, during the selection process at the NTC, the Selection Committee confirmed the validity of the Mislatel franchise," it added. —Ted Cordero/LBG, GMA News