PLDT, Globe oppose higher spectrum users fees

PLDT, Globe oppose higher spectrum users fees

Gov't wants PLDT/Globe's commitment on common towers

Industry giants PLDT and Globe Telecom have raised a howl over a plan to jack up the spectrum users fee (SUF) for broadband frequencies, saying such a move may result in more expensive services.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has proposed to set a P500 SUF for each outdoor radio station operated by telcos with a maximum data rate of 11 Mbps and P1,000 in excess of 11 Mbps.

The rates are applicable to radio frequency bands 2400MHz to 2483.5MHz, 5150MHz to 5350MHz and 5470MHz to 5850MHz.

“Higher spectrum prices threaten affordable, high quality mobile broadband services. When spectrum prices are set too high, operators are likely to invest in networks which impact the quality and reach of services,” Globe said in its position paper submitted to the NTC.

“When spectrum fees are set too high, consumers may suffer from more expensive, lower quality mobile services,” it added.

Globe said the “exorbitant” cost of spectrum is “not suitable and poses a major threat for the future growth and development of mobile services.”

“We submit that the NTC is duly empowered to prescribe a zero rate for open and unprotected frequencies pursuant to its power to fix SUF from zero to a specific amount, consistent with Republic Act 3846 or the Radio Control Act and international best practices,” Globe said.

PLDT, meanwhile, called for the reduction and/or rationalization of SUF for all spectrum/frequencies, noting that fees imposed on public telecommunication entities have become unreasonable and excessive. It is our position that SUF must be set at modest levels with a view to recovering the regulator’s spectrum management costs,” PLDT said.

According to PLDT, the current pricing structure where SUF on a particular band is computed on a per KHz/station basis discourages network rollout as deploying more base stations increases the SUF.

“Usage fees must not hinder the development of innovative services or act as a barrier to competition. High spectrum costs will make it difficult for PTEs to make the necessary investments to support expansion projects — which ultimately impacts quality of service,” PLDT said.

“A more reasonable method of computing SUF will certainly encourage PTEs to invest and deploy more advanced technologies like 5G, which promises faster speeds, lower latency and greater load capacity,” it added.

Moreover, PLDT said spectrum fees set too high combined with income taxes, value added tax, excise, regulatory fees, and other charges could negatively impact growth opportunities and attractiveness of the sector.

“There is a pressing need to review existing policies and regulations relative to SUF,” PLDT said.

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