Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Internet cafés to assist DTI

By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos - Manila Standard

Operators of Internet cafés in Metro Manila have offered their outlets as venues for registration of business names.

The Department of Trade and Industry said Internet cafés in Metro Manila can assist business clients in using DTI’s online business name registration service, the WeBNRS.

The Internet Café Association of the Philippines is interested to start it in Metro Manila.

DTI Secretary Peter Favila said the DTI has started training personnel from Internet cafés in assisting clients fill out the online forms.

“This is one way of promoting e-governance, that is making government service more accessible to the public through the use of the Internet, and we would like to thank this business sector in helping provide a speedier and accessible government processing procedure using their facilities and their manpower,” Favila said.

The tie-up with Internet café operators began as a pilot project in DTI provincial office in Rizal. Because of its successful implementation in the province, the DTI decided to replicate the project in Metro Manila

DOST outlines 2006 agenda, focuses on biotech and ICT

By Alexander Villafania, INQ7.net

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is finalizing its agenda for 2006, which includes expanding research on biotechnology and information and communications technology.

The agency is also setting its sights on strengthening R&D on environmental management and pharmaceuticals.

Top DOST executives are currently meeting at the PHINMA Training Center in Silang Cavite to discuss the agency’s issues and objectives for this year.

DOST Undersecretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a phone interview that the agency is stepping up efforts to sustain existing R&D projects in all four areas. He said ICT R&D plans should be set according to the needs of various DOST sub-agencies.

“We also want our offices to be connected to each other and so we’re hoping that our ICT programs would benefit the DOST first until we could commercialize them,” de la Peña said.

The undersecretary also noted that among their key goals this year is to get more financial and technical assistance for the country’s inventors, improve human resource development to create more masters and doctorate degrees, and “high-impact” projects on a regional scale.

“The DOST has to set different goals for various aspects of science research. These goals should either sustain or become building blocks of the country’s science and technology community,” De la Peña said.

The DOST is requesting a 2.8-billion-peso budget to continue its projects for 2006.

New UP supercomputer to be used for virtual modeling

By Alexander Villafania, INQ7.net

The new supercomputer at the University of the Philippines Diliman Computational Science Research Center (UP-CSRC) is being opened for various virtual modeling for scientific research including biology, bioinformatics, traffic management and even economics.

The supercomputer is actually a cluster of Pentium IV and Xeon-based computers that have a combined processing speed of 30 Gigaflops.

The CSRC received a 4.8-million-peso grant from the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology.

CSRC Director Vincent Ricardo Daria said the supercomputer would primarily be used for CSRC student researches. However, they have already lined up projects with the National Institute of Geological Sciences and the UP Marine Science Institute.

“The supercomputer opens up a venue for interdisciplinary studies. Local research centers that need very large computations only need to approach the CSRC to meet their needs,’ Daria said.

Daria said they are using open source platforms on the supercomputer. Currently, they are using Linux, Java and Openmosix clustering software.

Daria said they could also open a network connecting the supercomputer to other computing facilities in UP and in other agencies for grid computing researches.

“Those are still plans but our initial goal is to make research easier for students and other scientists. It once took several days to come up with a model of a research but with this type of computing power, we can now view results from virtual models in a few hours,” Daria said.

Memo exposes 3G marketing war in RP

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

An alleged internal memo exposed by a Filipino blogger has revealed a brewing marketing war between two rival Philippine mobile phone operators recently granted government licenses to operate third generation (3G) mobile phone services.

A January 13, 2006 entry in tech local personality Miguel Paraz's Random Thoughts blog titled "The Truth Behind Globe Telecom 3G," showed an alleged Globe internal memo debunking claims of its rival Smart Communications.

The alleged internal memo at, showed a timeline that compared Globe's 3G marketing campaign against Smart.

This same blog entry was eventually picked up by Pinoytech blog, a local blog on Philippine technology (www.pinoytechblog.com).

The alleged Globe internal memo described each Globe initiative launched since July 2005 and indicated that it was written in reaction to recent advertising campaigns launched by Smart.

"Before you react to the screaming billboards and advertisements of the competitor, take the time to know what we have done to ensure we are truly ahead in the 3G battle," it added.

One Smart marketing campaign cited involved a 3G call between the television personality Kris Aquino and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. chairman Manuel Pangilinan.

INQ7.net reached Jones Campos, assistant vice president for Globe Telecom public relations, for comment, but he declined to make a statement.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) granted government licenses to four operators to operate 3G in December 2005.

Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom were among the local operators given a 3G license. The others were Digital Telecommunications and Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises Inc., the newest player.

Smart got a perfect score on a grading system used by the NTC to gauge the capability of local operators to massively and effectively provide 3G services. It was assigned 15 Megahertz-wide spectrum of frequencies. Globe, which was a point shy from Smart, was granted 10Mhz-wide spectrum of frequencies.

In earlier reports, Smart said that the company started preparations for a seamless transition to 3G as early as five years ago. Globe officials disagreed.

3G provides faster transmission speeds that make high bandwidth applications, such as video calls and video streaming possible. Browsing the Internet and downloading large files would be fast with 3G as this technology offers full mobility, richer experience, and greater convenience.

A survey by the Global mobile Suppliers Association in December indicated that there are now 100 3G/WCDMA networks in 42 countries in the world.

WCDMA is a global standard that enables enhanced mobile multimedia services -- music, TV and video, rich entertainment content, and Internet access.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cell phone theft probe underway in mall

By Edson C. Tandoc Jr. Inquirer

THE management of the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan has begun investigating a report that two television reporters who lost their cell phones to thieves found the units on sale in stalls inside the shopping area early this week.

"We are conducting our investigation on whether or not to hold the two stall owners liable," General Manager Joey Santos told the Inquirer yesterday.

He said the decision of whether or not to blacklist the stall owners would be known "within the week."

Santos said they would determine if the two stall owners "complied with the listed precautionary measures" to determine whether or not the cell phones they were selling had been stolen.

ABC-5 employee Theresa Andrada lost her company-issued XDA-II phone early Saturday morning, only to find it displayed in a stall owned by Abdulmalik Basher in the shopping center hours later. Basher later returned the allegedly stolen phone to the person who had traded it in, and then sold Andrada another phone at a much lower price.

But after checking the serial number, the phone turned out to be the same one stolen earlier from a fellow reporter, Jason Torres


Mall owners warn vendors vs selling stolen cell phones
By Non Alquitran
The Philippine Star 01/19/2006

The management of a shopping center in San Juan warned some 100 Muslim vendors yesterday of being "blacklisted" if they are caught buying and selling stolen cellular phones.

Joey Santos, general manager of the Greenhills shopping center, said he will not hesitate to "end the relationship with misbehaving stall owners" should an incident similar to the one experienced by a reporter take place in their premises.

Over the weekend, two O2 XDA II PDA phones stolen from two ABC-5 reporters turned up at the display counters of stalls owned by Muslim traders.

Santos asked Muslim vendors to be extra cautious in buying second-hand phones and check documentation to prevent the establishment from being embarrassed.

Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, San Juan police chief, said Santos warned traders they would immediately be kicked out and banned should the incident happen again.

The victims, however, have failed to file charges against the two stall owners, which caught the attention of Metro police chief Director Vidal Querol.

Querol said he would try to convince the reporters to file charges so as not to embolden other traders from buying and selling stolen cell phones.

Jocson and Chief Superintendent Oscar Valenzuela, director of the Eastern Police District, met yesterday with 100 Muslim traders to prevent the repeat of the incident.

The San Juan police chief explained that management, police and vendors have a standing agreement against the buying and selling of stolen cell phones. The meeting held at the shopping center conference room was to remind vendors of the agreement.

Valenzuela warned the traders that his command would conduct anti-fencing operations not only at the Greenhills shopping center, but also in other establishments.

The EPD chief ordered his chief of staff, Senior Superintendent Federico Laciste Jr., to spearhead the effort.

Valenzuela was joined in the meeting by Senior Superintendent Arthur Envento, his deputy for operations; Chief Inspector Ben Feliciano, EPD intelligence chief; lawyer Roque Merdegia Jr.; and Senior Inspector Mike Villaespana, Greenhills PCP commander.

For their part, the vendors vowed to police their ranks and promised to follow necessary procedures in buying second-hand cell phones.

"Ayaw naming ma-blacklist dahil ito lang ang pagkabuhayan namin," they told Valenzuela.

Lawyer Rex Panumpang, of the Muslim Traders Association Council of Elders, said the incident was an "isolated case" as he urged the vendors to strictly observe their earlier agreement with Jocson and the EPD.

"We should follow the rules not only to protect our business, but ourselves as well," Panumpang said.

Jocson said traders Abdulmalik Basher and Kalic Sarip, from whose stalls the stolen PDAs were recovered, failed to attend the gathering.

Santos said they are still conducting an investigation to determine the fate of the two traders.

Binondo banker in 3G fray

THE keys to the digital kingdom—otherwise known as the third-generation (3G) license and frequency bands—have now been awarded by the National Telecommunications Commission to four players out of field of about 10 who eagerly bid for this opportunity to make oodles of money.

Three of the companies awarded the 3G licenses were hardly a surprise—Smart and Globe, the telecom titans who are way ahead in the market, and Sun Cellular which operates at a respectful distance.

But CURE? Who they? Well, you may ask, for the news that CURE—or Connectivity Unlimited Resources Inc.—had been awarded one of the four sought after 3G licenses got corporate eyebrows curving, because the company, apart from been little known, had no track record of any sort in this fiercely competitive mobile-telephone field.

It did though have a guy at the helm with good connections, stretching back to the days of the Marcos Conjugal dictatorship when he was the trade secretary, during which time his name was whispered as being linked to what was infamously known as the Binondo Central Bank through which millions of dollars allegedly found their way to Hong Kong.

We talk of now mostly Hong Kong- (and Tuscany?) based Bobby Ongpin, he of the salt and pepper hair mop, who—so corporate cocktail circuit tattle has it—has managed to establish some impeccable present day connections too. Hey, not for nothing is the “C” in CURE stand for “connectivity”!

Since Ongpin got the treasured 3G license he has been talking the talk—like saying he would invest up to P14 billion in the first four years of CURE’s operations, and that CURE would have 33-percent market share in the sixth year of operations. Those pronouncements, we must say, got corporate eyebrows arching even more so.

Those who know Ongpin as a consummate business operator (he does have a toe in the telecom waters through Eastern Telecom) appear to think that he will now use the license as leverage to raise big bucks, or to bring in a dollar rich overseas 3G player. Either way Ongpin is sure to be laughing all the way to the Swiss banks—thanks to the munificence of the NTC

Ongpin’s camp has already dropped the name of Asia’s richest man, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing—with 3G operations is many countries including the United Kingdom—as a possible partner.

But our sources across the South China Sea tell us that the Hong Kong billionaire may not be interested in a Philippines telecom venture on account of the fact that Smart and Globe are so dominant that they will continue to feast even from the 3G table, with Sun and CURE left to feed off the crumbs.

Conventional wisdom being that if Li Ka-shing was venturing in he would normally do so in partnership with, or by taking a controlling stake in, a company that was already well established in the market.

And CURE (not to be mistaken for a British punk rock band of that name) most certainly ain’t that. Manila Times

QC ordinance boosts anti-piracy drive

By Perseus Echeminada
The Philippine Star 01/19/2006

The government’s anti-piracy campaign has received a big boost in Quezon City after Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. signed into law an ordinance curtailing the sale, rental, transfer, distribution, manufacture or production of pirated, counterfeit or fake goods, articles or services in the city.

Nathan Zulueta, head of the Quezon City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., said the landmark legislation authored by Council majority floorleader Ariel Inton Jr. was endorsed by the Intellectual Property Coalition and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in support of IPR laws enacted by Congress.

Under the newly approved ordinance, all businesses and permits issued by the city government shall carry the express condition that the licensee shall not engage in the sale, rental, distribution, manufacture of pirated, counterfeit or fake goods or services nor shall permit other persons to commit said acts within the licenses business establishment or premises.

"Any breach or violation of the condition as set forth in the law shall be ground for the revocation or suspension of the business permit or license for a period of not more than 10 days for the first violation; 30 days for a second violation and cancellation of permit for third and subsequent violations," the ordinance stated.

Belmonte said the measure supports the national government’s campaign to protect intellectual property rights.

"To unlock the vast potential of creating new jobs, more business opportunities, national and local revenues, sustain economic growth, Quezon City and the rest of the country must take strong initiative and take tangible steps to further protect intellectual property rights," he said.

The mayor said the state policy to enhance the enforcement of IPR laws requires the determined and active support of local government at its grassroots level.

Zulueta said under the new law, the anti-piracy campaign would be enhanced and further improve the country’s chances of being removed from the priority watch list of IPR violators.

He emphasized that protecting the legitimate business operations is a responsibility of every local government unit.

"The LGU should give ample protection to legitimate enterprises offering and selling legitimate products, goods and services. With this law, the mayor through the BPLO can easily suspend and cancel business permits of establishments or persons found violating the local anti-piracy law," he said.

Nokia bags Smart 3G network supply contract

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

Telecommunications equipment firm Nokia has bagged a contract to supply local operator Smart Communications with third generation (3G) network technology and services, Smart disclosed on Wednesday.

Under a recently signed agreement, the contract covers the supply of 3G radio access and core network equipment, including the Nokia High Speed Downlink Packet Access solution, 3G upgrades to the existing circuit and packet switched networks of Smart, and other related network services.

Smart did not disclose how much the contract was worth.

"Smart is committed to offer the best 3G services in the market. As of today, deliveries of equipment and services are underway. The investments under this contract will allow us to establish quality nationwide 3G coverage in the shortest possible time." said Napoleon Nazareno, Smart president and CEO.

Nazareno noted that the operator has been testing a number of 3G cell sites and content such as streaming video clips, which can already be previewed at demonstrations in some of its wireless centers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

Smart was among the four local operators recently granted licenses to operate 3G services in the Philippines by the National Telecommunications Commission.

Officials previously indicated that the operator expects commercial 3G services to become available in the first quarter of this year.

3G is a faster mobile communications network that supports the wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) standard. It allows for faster data transmission speeds, making possible high-speed data communications and mobile multimedia services like video conferencing, audio streaming, and mobile Internet.

Smart conducted a live test of its 3G capabilities in December 2005 in Cebu City

During the demo, the company showed a live video conference call within its network and an international roaming call between the operator and Telecom Italia Mobile.

SMART officials said that the company started preparations for a seamless transition to 3G as early as five years ago with Nokia.

"In December 2000, SMART in cooperation with Nokia conducted the first successful 3G video call in the country in the presence of NTC officials. Using experimental equipment, this test call recorded data transfer rates of up to 216.9 kbps," the company added.

Smart has been working with Nokia as its sole network supplier since 1998

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CICT considers publishing strategic ICT roadmap for RP

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

THE COMMISSION on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) is considering publishing a new ICT strategic roadmap for the Philippines, CICT chairman Virgilio Peña told INQ7.net Monday.

Likely based on the same roadmap created by the defunct Information Technology and E-commerce Council composed of private and public sector representatives, the CICT roadmap will chart government's plans to develop four key sectors: human resource, information infrastructure, e-government, and ICT as business.

The CICT chairman said the agency does not intend to reinvent the wheel in this new roadmap, but he believes the CICT will need to "validate priorities" and adjust the old roadmap to fit current developments.

"We're looking at publishing this [ICT roadmap]. It is to be distributed to other countries so we're seeking funding for this initiative," Peña added.

The ITECC strategic roadmap is focused on the modernization of government services and development of ICT human resources, as well as providing universal access to as many Filipinos in the country as possible, with Internet access in far-flung rural areas.

English distance training firm to hire more Filipinos

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

A Philippine-based firm providing English distance training targeted at international companies in Europe is set to hire more Filipinos this year, the company said.

Founded in 2003 by former Finance Secretary Robert de Ocampo, ITI Consulting said it plans to hire 150 more trainers in the Philippines.

"ITI Consulting was established in the Philippines due to its large, highly educated, English-speaking workforce. And unlike most international companies in the Philippines, ITI Consulting manages a network of English trainers in the US from Manila and not the other way around," the company said.

Training is delivered through telephone and video conference by trainers based in the Philippines and the US.

Having more than 90 percent of its people speaking and understanding English, the company said it has established operations here because of the large pool of potential trainers.

Since English is now considered the world's business language, ITI Consulting has decided to focus on English communication training to better equip clients in their careers.

It noted that the English training market is worth 1 billion dollars and the need for a one-on-one 'teacher based' English training is booming in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Distance training by telephone and the Internet is well developed in Asia, especially in South Korea, but is relatively new in Europe, the company said.

ITI has more than 1,000 corporate clients in Europe, 25,000 students and 200 highly skilled and educated trainers.

With 70 employees, ITI Consulting in the Philippines is now the headquarters for worldwide teacher operations, managing the US operations, with Geneva as headquarters for sales operations.

Bagsakan ng nakaw na cellphone sa Greenhills, sinalakay

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

Nabuko ng pulisya ang talamak na bentahan ng mga nakaw na cellphone sa Greenhills, San Juan, matapos na matunton sa isang stall doon na pag-aari ng pamangkin ng isang congressman ang dalawang ninakaw na cellphone ng dalawang TV reporter na naholdap sa kanila.

Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Ma. Theresa Andrada, 27, ng #41 Aduana St., New Intramuros Village, Diliman, Quezon City; at Jason Torres, 26, ng #62 R. Pascual St., San Juan, MM, kapwa reporter ng ABC-5.

Ayon kay Supt. Rodelio Jocson, hepe ng San Juan police, huling nabiktima si Andrada nang holdapin ito noong Sabado ng madaling-araw sa Metrowalk Mall sa Pasig City at tangayin ang company issue cellphone nito na 02-XDA II PDA na nagkakahalaga ng P50,000.

Kinahapunan ng nasabing araw ay nagpunta sa Greenhills Shopping Center si Andrada upang bumili ng cellphone kapalit ng ninakaw at laking gulat nito nang makita niya ang ninakaw sa kanyang cellphone na naka-display sa Stall No. V-9 sa Centermall na pag-aari ni Abdulmalik Basher y Tumawis, 24, pamangkin ni Alip Partylist Congressman Acmad Tumawis, na residente ng San Juan na siyang gumitna upang magkaroon ng pag-uusap upang mapalitan ang nawalang cellphone.

Matapos makapagbigay ng P6,000 si Andrada para mapalitan ng kaparehas ding unit ng cellphone ay mas lalo itong namangha nang mapag-alaman na ang ipinalit sa kanyang cellphone na galling sa kabilang stall na pag-aari ng isang Kalic Sarip, 26, ay pag-aari naman ng kasamahan niyang si Torres na naholdap din kamakailan sa Pasig City.

Kasalukuyang inihahanda ang kasong anti-fencing sa dalawang stall owner. (Edwin Balasa)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

College student becomes instant millionaire online

There are many ways of managing crippling student debt but 21 year-old British student Alex Tew has come across what seems to be the most effective yet ` become an instant millionaire and internet entrepreneur.

Whereas most students struggle to get by on a few pounds an hour from a part-time bar or supermarket job, Tew has spent the last few months earning an average of 4000 pounds a day from his idea of a lifetime, the Million Dollar Homepage.

He will soon be banking the final cents of revenue totalling more than one million dollars, all earned since the conception of his idea last August.

Lying on his bed at his family's home in Wiltshire, southwest England, Tew was pondering how to stay out of debt during his impending three-year business studies degree.

Having seen his brother leave university with 30,000 pounds of debt he scribbled on a notepad "How can I become
MAKING BIG BUCKS. The last pixels sold on eBay for $38,100.

a millionaire?" The idea then came to him.

Spiralling interest

His website, the innovative - and now much imitated - milliondollarhomepage.com allowed advertisers to buy pixels, the tiny dots on a computer screen, at one dollar each.

As media interest mounted, the squares on which companies could place their logo sold at a minimum 100 pixels a go and were snapped up faster and faster.

Each logo links back to the sponsor's website.

Last week, only four months after the site was launched, the final 1000 pixels were sold on internet auction site eBay for $38,100.

Before the sale of the final pixels Tew said: "I've been blown away. These have been the most exciting and hectic months of my life. Things are quite surreal at the moment and because it's been so busy it hasn't really sunk in."

Tew has pledged to keep active for at least five years and companies advertising on the site range from corporate giants such as Orange to humble Hartlepool United football club, a team from the third tier of the English game.

"It hasnt been free money. It has changed my life and that hasnt really sunk in yet"

With the purchase of the domain name costing him only $88, Tew has earned a vast profit even after tax.

Despite his new wealth, his only indulgence so far has been a new car. He has now deferred the degree that he originally thought would cost him so much to take and is looking into several job offers, as well as writing an e-book.


"It's been a great experience but its been so hectic taking 120 calls a day. It hasnt been free money. It has changed my life and that hasnt really sunk in yet," he said.

"My aim at the moment is to go on to university next year but theres always a chance things could keep getting bigger and bigger."

He says the bulk of the money he has made will be reinvested in future business ideas.

"This is probably not the last penny I'll ever make but its likely to be the easiest," he said.

Extensive media coverage has resulted in Tew becoming something of a business pin-up. Financial bibles such as The Wall Street Journal have featured his story, while a string of copycats, billionpixelplace.com and milliondollarhomepagebis.com among them, have sprung up.

The one catch has been that the page has been such a success, with as many as half a million separate vistors a day, that it has crashed repeatedly in recent days due to heavy traffic.


Internet access cost dropping fast in RP--Solon

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

THE COST of dial-up and broadband Internet services is going down fast in the Philippines, Catanduanes congressman Joseph Santiago observed on Monday.

The cost of an unlimited Internet dial-up account bundled with phone service is 840 pesos a month, he said, citing Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) rates.

The growing popularity of broadband access has forced traditional dial-up Internet service providers (ISPs) to reduce monthly rates, Santiago said, noting that "Actually, the cheapest dial-up Internet access now is P160 monthly.”

That bundled PLDT service costing P840 monthly covers basic monthly landline service and unlimited Internet access. A landline residential subscriber paying about 680 pesos monthly would have to add just P160 to get unlimited dial-up Internet access.

Independent dial-up services even offer unlimited Internet access services for as low as 13.30 pesos per day or 399 pesos a month. Previously, the cheapest Internet service was about 25.00 pesos a day or 748 a month.

Santiago, who is vice chairman of the House transportation and communications committee, further said that inexpensive Internet access is expected to draw more subscribers this year.

PLDT for one reported about 76,000 broadband Internet subscribers as of September 2005, an increase of 54 percent over its 49,500 users in September 2004. Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. had about 20,000 wireless broadband subscribers at the time.

The market research firm International Data Corp. projects Internet users in the Philippines to double from 11.8 million at the end 2004 to an estimated 20 million by 2007

Monday, January 16, 2006

More firms ask for reconsideration of 3G applications

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, Inquirer

APART from Bayan Telecommunications Inc., (Bayantel) several more companies disqualified from the initial bidding of third-generation (3G) mobile network licenses have filed for reconsideration with the National Telecommunications Commission, INQ7.net learned Friday.
NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento said Multimedia Telephony Inc., Next Mobile, AZ Telecommunications, and Pacific Wireless have asked the NTC to reconsider their applications with the NTC.

The NTC’s deadline for filing motions for reconsideration expired January 13.

NTC chair Ronald Solis has said earlier that AZ Communications, a company owned by Tony "Boy" Cojuangco, and Pacific Wireless failed to qualify because they failed the "debt to equity" requirement of the NTC.

"Both did not measure up to the debt to equity requirement we specified," Solis said.

Next Mobile was disqualified on grounds that it had "unpaid supervision and regulatory" fees with the NTC.

Multimedia Telephony Inc., a firm managed by Jose de Venecia III, fell short of the minimum requirements of NTC to qualify as a 3G operator, Solis said.

The NTC has granted government 3G licenses to four operators namely Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Digital Telecommunications (Digitel), and Roberto Ongpin-led Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise Inc.

The Lopez-owned telecommunications firm Bayantel was first to ask the NTC Wednesday to reconsider its application for a 3G mobile network license.


Few firms have applied as VoIP service provider, says NTC
By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

SO FAR, only two companies have applied to become Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) service providers with the National Telecommunications Commission, INQ7.net learned Friday.
Edgardo Cabarios, director of the common carrier division of the NTC, said that the agency has officially received two applications from two firms, but he declined to name them.

Cabarios said that it has yet to receive applications from any companies wanting to become VoIP resellers.

The NTC released the final rules and regulation for local firms to qualify as VoIP providers or resellers. Under government regulations, a VoIP provider is required to have at least 10 million pesos capitalization, while resellers only need to post a 5 million performance bond.

William Torres, president of the Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO), said in a separate interview that local firms like his company, Mosaic Communications (Moscom), are among the local companies interested to play in the VoIP business that is expected to be dominated by major telephone companies.

Moscom is one of the biggest Internet service providers in the Philippines.

Although declining to disclose Moscom's plans, he said that the local Internet service industry has spearheaded the push to deregulate commercial VoIP service in the country. But some members of PISO feel that the required capitalization is still "high."

An owner of a local Internet service provider who declined to be identified, however, stressed that the capitalization issue is not the main reason why local ISPs are not yet applying as VoIP providers.

"There is a clause in the NTC regulation that requires VoIP providers to interconnect with the telcos. Based on our experience, telcos would naturally drag their feet, as we negotiate terms with them," the owner added.
Nonetheless, PISO's Torres said that the local organization has welcomed NTC's effort.

"We did write our position paper, saying that we welcome the issuance of the NTC VoIP regulation. It was something that we can live with. But some people still believe that the capitalization is still too high, but there's an opportunity for them to become a resellers," Torres said.

In his opinion, the current NTC regulations challenges local firms to "play like a telco" when they decide to enter the VoIP service business in the country.

"I believe that the VoIP service [provided by independent VoIP providers] will still need to interact with traditional phone services of local telcos. An Internet service provider who cannot play as a VoIP service provider can still play as a VOIP reseller by teaming up with another telephone company," Torres added.

The PISO head, however, admitted that technology now allows any local company to offer VoIP service without the need to post a performance bond or raise enough paid-capital to get the nod from NTC.

Video-conference software that is available to any firm today incorporate VoIP technology, he said. "So I don't see why you cannot go on with providing VoIP service," he said.

In November 2005, the NTC decided to issue stricter guidelines to discourage fly-by night VoIP operators in the Philippines. This justified the requirement to peg capitalization at 10 million pesos, officials said last year.

Torres said that an opportunity has recently emerged from the discussions on capitalization requirements by the NTC.

Smaller telephone companies have engaged local Internet service provider (ISP) to offer VoIP service outside of their franchise areas. Seen as a radical development, Torres believes that the partnership between a smaller telco and a local ISP would allow ISPs to bypass capitalization requirements by the NTC.

Smaller telephone companies in the Philippines are already qualified to become VoIP providers, thus they can already operate as a VoIP provider without applying to NTC, Torres said.

"Moscom is in process of partnering with smaller telco to offer VoIP," he said.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Firms say govt favored rival’s 3G application

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Manila Times Reporter

COMPANIES that failed to qualify for a license to operate 3G (third generation) technology mobile phone service have accused the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of “curing” the deficiency of Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise Inc. (CURE) on its minimum roll-out plan, documents submitted to the regulator showed.

3G, which allows much faster connection to existing wireless telephone networks and faster Internet access for the transfer of volumes of data in various forms, is touted as the next biggest thing in the telecommunications business.

In its motion for reconsideration, AZ Communications Network Inc. said “... it is worthy to note that one of the successful applicants granted with the 3G license and frequency band applied for under the consolidated order, namely CURE, actually failed to qualify for the 3G license applied for in view of its failure to comply with the minimum rollout requirement as provided under Section 3.6 (g) of MC No. 07-08-2005.”

Sec. 3.6 of the circular calls for submission of proof of track record in the operation of mobile telecommunications systems, particularly 3G networks, the submission of a 5-year roll-out plan to cover at least 80 percent of the provincial capital towns/cities and 80 percent of the chartered cities.

It also requires submission of a written undertaking that would allow the sharing of network and facilities with other 3G players in areas where demand prevents more than one 3G network.

AZ Communications claimed that “despite this failure to qualify, this Honorable Commission nevertheless allowed CURE to ‘cure’ this deficiency by accepting the latter’s submission to this Honorable Commission on October 27, 2005.”

Another applicant, Next Mobile Inc., also alleged that CURE shouldn’t have been awarded a 3G frequency for lack of financial capacity and the failure of its original roll out plan to meet the minimum area coverage.

“Further, CURE merely belatedly submitted a ‘written commitment’ to cover

95 percent of the provincial capital cities and municipalities and 90 percent of the chartered cities within 48 months from the date of assignment of 3G allocated frequencies,” Next Mobile said in its motion for reconsideration.

It added that such a written commitment is not allowed under the memorandum order, nor is there “anything in the rules which provides for ‘partial points’ for applicants [that] do not meet the minimum required coverage.”

Next Mobile said CURE should have garnered a total of 15.5 points or at best 16.5 points “making it ineligible to qualify as a frequency assignee for failing to garner at least 20 points.”

The NTC earlier gave CURE a score of 20.5, making it the fourth applicant to be awarded the 3G license, trailing Smart Communications Inc with a perfect score of 30; Globe Telecommunication Inc., 29; and Digitel Mobile Phils. Inc., 28.

Based on the criteria the NTC set, Next Mobile said it should have gotten 23.5 points, or enough to merit it a 3G license.

The NTC junked Next Mobile’s bid to operate 3G owing to its unpaid supervisory and regulatory fees amounting to more than P129 million.

Other applicants that failed to secure a license were Lopez family-led Bayan Telecommunication Inc., Multimedia Telephony Inc., and Pacific Wireless Inc., all of which filed their respective motions for reconsideration.

Smaller call centers emerging

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

INDUSTRY experts in the Philippines said that smaller call center operations are emerging, thanks to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and expanding web-

based services.

Brian Silverman, president and chief executive officer of California-based Five9, cited industry analysts as saying that the average number of call center

seats are going down to 40, a measly number compared to thousands of seats operated by top call center firms like PeopleSupport, Convergys, and other big

players based in the Philippines.

Five9 is a call center solutions provider that aims to gradually grow its business in the country, as it offers turnkey solutions for startup call center


"The advent of VoIP and the outsourcing boom are driving average call center seats down. We never talked about small entrepreneurs being able to run a call

center before. Now, it is possible," Silverman added.

Eric de Gelder, JFK Center Foundation client relations and account manager, said bigger call center operations are under a lot of pressure to meet stricter "metrics" set by clients.

Involved in the US-based foundation's business process outsourcing training program in the Philippines, Gelder said that bigger call center operations are

faced with the challenge of sustaining revenues while they deal with other issues related to consolidation of operations and satisfying more demanding


A combined forecast of the Board of Investments, the Business Process Association of the Philippines, and the Commission on Information and Communications

Technology showed that the customer care industry, under which the call center industry falls, is still going to generate majority of the jobs for the local

outsourcing industry.

In 2006, the customer care industry is expected to generate 168,000 new jobs.

Rafy David, president of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), said that smaller call centers are indeed emerging.

"There is a growing trend that smaller operations are emerging. But the smaller call centers operate differently from the bigger ones. The level of

sophistication is different, as the bigger call center usually has a complete support staff, more comprehensive customer relations management solutions, more

in-bound operations, and so on," David said in an interview.

David said the local interest in setting up smaller call centers became evident during a CCAP-hosted forum on the topic, "Call center in a box," where more

than 100 people attended. "I was only expecting half of that number to come," he said.

Smaller call centers are likely to fall into a niche service, David said.

"For younger and smaller call centers, their main concern usually involves sustaining [the inflow of] projects. Projects come and go. There are well paying

contracts that don't take long," he said.

He said that bigger call centers now have a mix of projects. Some are long-term, some are short-term. However, he believes that smaller call centers will

likely thrive in telemarketing.