The Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is reportedly in the process of drawing up the bidding criteria for the auction of a surplus 3G licence that the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) surrendered several years ago, following a series of acquisitions. According to online news journal InterAksyon, the watchdog and PLDT will each nominate a representative to assume a position on the bidding committee, with a third nominee selected between them to act as an auditor. The committee will be tasked with deciding on the compensation owed to PLDT for its PHP2.125 billion (USD48.89 million) investment in former 3G licensee Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprise (CURE), which briefly operated under the Red Mobile brand.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, CURE originally secured one of four 3G licences in January 2006. However, in 2008 the PLDT Group acquired CURE from a consortium helmed by former trade minister Roberto Ongpin for PHP419.54 million. In October 2011 the NTC ordered PLDT to relinquish CURE’s surplus 3G frequencies as part of its approval for PLDT’s takeover of Digitel and its Sun Cellular arm. PLDT has previously stated that it hopes to recoup as much as PHP1 billion of its CURE investment, but the process has dragged on interminably.