ARTA orders NTC to assign frequencies for Now Telecom

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to assign the necessary frequencies to Now Telecom Company for it to operate as a cellular mobile telephony service (CMTS).

In an order dated March 1, 2021, the ARTA issued an order of automatic approval for the assignment by the NTC of certain frequencies which Now Telecom needs as a CMTS licensee.

In a separate statement, Now Telecom said it is one of only four telecommunications companies in the country with a CMTS license.

In its order, the anti-red tape body said the NTC failed to approve or disapprove Now Telecom’s application for “assignment of concomitant frequencies for the exercise of its Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Provisional Authority (CMTS PA) since January 2006 despite submission of all required documents and payment of all required fees and charges, and the issuance of the said provisional authority and the extension thereof.”

“Thus, under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 11302 or the ‘Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018’ the said application or request for assignment of concomitant frequencies for the exercise of Now Tel’s CMTS PA as attested to in Now Tel’s Affidavit of Completeness is hereby DECLARED COMPLETE, and is now deemed AUTOMATICALLY APPROVED by operation of law,” the ARTA order read.

The RA 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018 seeks to increase efficiency in government service by reducing processing time, eliminating red tape, simplifying requirements and procedures, and expediting both business and non-business transactions with the government.

Now Telecom said the order also resulted in the automatic approval of its application for a provisional authority to operate in a certain frequency range.

“As a result of ARTA’s order of automatic approval, Now Telecom is assigned 220Mhz radio frequencies, including 5G frequencies, for mobile and fixed wireless by operation of law,” the company said.

Now Telecom noted that as early as 2005, the NTC in an order found the company to be legally, technically, and financially qualified, as a result of which it was granted its application for a CMTS PA, but failed to assign the frequencies that it needed, sitting on the company’s application for assignment of the needed frequencies for years.

Under Section 10 of RA 11032, if a government office or agency fails to approve or disapprove an applicant or request for issuance of license, permit, etc., within the prescribed processing time, then said application or request shall be deemed approved provided that all required documents have been submitted and required fees and charged paid.

The ARTA also ordered the NTC to comply with said order immediately and to submit proof of compliance within three days from receipt of the order.

Now Telecom president and chief operations officer Rene Rosales said that with the frequency assignments, the company will now have the capability to deliver vastly fast and better broadband services to the Filipino people.

Rosales pointed out that with this ARTA ruling and award of frequencies, “Now Telecom emerges as a formidable player in the telecom mobile industry.”

Now Telecom renewed its provisional authority last September 2020 to install, operate, and maintain a nationwide mobile telecommunications system in the Philippines.—AOL, GMA News