Rodrigo Duterte offered China Telecom a slot to China as third telecom provider

Vastavam web: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has offered China Telecom a slot to be the country’s third telecom provider to break up the dominance of two local firms, his spokesman said today.The offer was part of Duterte’s efforts to improve ties between China and the Philippines, taking into account political as well as economic considerations, spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.Duterte has repeatedly said he wanted to introduce a third player into the Philippine telecom industry to spur competition and improve service.

The Philippines has a reputation for some of the slowest internet speeds in Asia, with customers restricted to a choice only between local firms PLOT and Globe Telecom.On a visit to Manila in October, Chinese Internet tycoon and Alibaba founder Jack Ma described the Philippines’ internet speed as “no good”.”China Telecom is currently having a preliminary study on the investment opportunity in Philippines and no concrete plan has been determined yet,” the company said in a statement to AFP.Philippine law restricts a majority-foreign firm from the telecom industry, which means China Telecom would have to pick a local partner.

Duterte has pursued closer economic, military and political ties with China for the Philippines, a traditional ally of the United States, since becoming president in the middle of last year.However critics have questioned if Duterte is offering too much to China, leaving his country vulnerable to political and economic pressure.There are also concerns about corruption, with a similar Philippine-Chinese telecom venture ending badly a decade ago.