Dito accuses Globe, Smart of “abusing” dominant positions

Dito Telecommunity, the third largest telecommunications player owned by businessman Dennis Uy, has filed complaints with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against telecommunications duopoly Globe Telecom and Smart Communications for alleged “abuse” of positions dominant.

PCC OIC Chairman Johannes R. Bernabe said the agency also received two separate complaints Monday (August 8) from Dito against competitors Globe and Smart for possible anti-competitive practices in their interconnection agreements.

In its 100-page complaint, DITO accused the duopoly of Globe and Smart of putting an interconnect barrier to competition and “abusing their dominant positions” in the industry.

Although interconnection between telecommunications operators is mandatory under the law, “it has become very difficult for our subscribers to interconnect with Globe and Smart”, said DITO’s administrative director, Adel Tamano, during a meeting. a press conference on Monday 8 August.

Only one in 100 calls is expected to fail, according to the service level for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) interconnection provision.

But to date, only 20 to 30 calls from DITO can reach Globe and Smart, according to Rodolfo Santiago, chief technology officer of DITO.

“They are giants. Our market share for the whole market is at most five percent. It would not be a question of who occupies the dominant position,” Tamano stressed. “If our interconnection is better, our market share will be greater.”

DITO has completed its interconnection with Globe and Smart ahead of its commercial launch in March 2021 to allow subscribers to send texts and calls on all three networks.

But the duopoly’s interconnect capacity failed to meet the demand of DITO’s 11.4 million subscribers.

Therefore, DITO subscribers find it difficult to text or call Globe and Smart users.

DITO enlisted the help of NTC, which has continued to intervene on the issue for a year now. “But there’s not much they can do,” DITO executives conceded.

The problem is that the duopoly “makes the interconnection subject to commercial terms”, according to DITO executives, but declined to give further details.

Now, DITO has been forced to file the anti-competition case against Globe and Smart with PCC.

“PCC has no jurisdiction over the commercial terms of our interconnection. Anti-competition is our goal,” Tamano stressed.

“Interconnection is an essential component of the telecommunications industry because it enables interoperability and the exchange of calls, SMS and other information from one network to another,” Bernabe said.

Bernabe said his Office of Competition Enforcement (CEO) is currently assessing the merits of Dito’s complaints. The Commission has 10 days to decide whether or not to follow up on the complaint.

“If given in a timely manner, our CEO will investigate the allegations and if he subsequently finds a sufficient basis, will file with the Commission en banc a Statement of Objections against the allegedly offending entities,” he said. said Bernabe.

The PCC will also consult with the National Telecommunications Commission on related regulatory matters.

An interconnection agreement between telecommunications operators essentially allows networks to connect and exchange data. When two telecommunications operators agree, subscribers of these two networks can now call and text each other.

Dito alleged that Globe and Smart are “not very compliant” with their interconnection agreement, which makes it difficult for Dito’s subscribers to connect to the other two telecom operators.

“We have not yet received 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 telecommunications industry,” according to PLDT’s statement released today. today.

“We don’t have a copy of the complaint yet,” said Yoly Crisanto, head of sustainability and corporate communications at Globe.

“In the meantime, we will refrain from issuing a statement. Globe reiterates that it has always advocated for fair business practices and equal competition,” she noted.

Dito is a consortium of Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation (through its subsidiary Dito CME Holdings Corporation) and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation, a parent company of China Telecom .

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