All thanks to the decree that allows full foreign ownership of telecoms companies.
European telcos may start entering the Philippines thanks to a measure from Congress that allows full ownership from foreign companies. Interested companies include Vodaphone from the UK, Mobitel from Austria, and Telenor from Norway. The new measure abolishes the previous limit of 40% ownership from foreign companies.
According to Lars Wittig, President of the ECCP (European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines), the ratification of the bill that amends the Public Service Act (PSA) is an “absolute massive game-changer and it will create double-digits, billion-dollar investments.”
There have been proposals to update and modernise the 85-year-old PSA. The bill has been modernised by the upper and lower Congress just last week and is now just pending for the President’s signature. The new modernised measure also diversifies the terms between “public utility” and “public service”.
According to the new measure, “public utility” is defined as:
- The distribution and transmission of electricity
- The transmission of petroleum and petroleum-related products
- The distribution of water and wastewater pipeline systems, including sewerage pipline systems
- Seaports, and;
- Public Utility Vehicles (PUV)
In 2018, Wittig said that European telcos were interested in the bidding of the third major telco and can be traced back to 51%, 99%, or 100% ownership. The third telco eventually became Mislatel, now known as DITO Telecommunity, which is backed by a 40% ownership from China Telecom.