Wired! Philippines



Mobile Satellite Communications: The Next Universal Standard by the Coming Century

by Lynda B. Valencia

Satellite Communications has now taken a new and equal role with the conventional fixed network in the Philippines, according to DOTC Undersecretary for Communications Josefina T. Lichauco.

Lichauco said "satellite communications no longer plays a secondary role. It has taken a new direction."

Previous to this development, mobile communications had begun to take root in the country, that is, when the DOTC opened up the Cellular Mobile Telephone business to competition with the promulgation of Department Circular no. 92-269 or the Cellular Mobile Telephone System policy, Lichauco said.

Lichauco said advanced technologies in mobile and satellite communications have evolved tremendously and instigated the difference in our respective lifestyle.

The Philippines has a relatively new mobile and satellite communications infrastructure.

Together, with this, the national government had undertaken several activities with respect to mobile and satellite communications to provide industry with the atmosphere necessary to fostering a market that can be competitive as it can get.

"The endeavor we pro-actively exerted are not only motivated by the need to catch up with the rapid pace of technological change, but are driven, more essentially by public interest that demand such access in keeping with the rest of the world," Lichauco said.

She said one of the moves made by the government was the filing of an application for six orbital slots with the International Telecommunications Union (ITC).

These were applied in two batches: Batch 1--161, 153, 151, degree east orbital slot filed on May 12, 1994 and batch 2 -- 127, 137, 147 degree east orbital slot filed with the ITU on Aug 17, 1994.

Rights to the 89.6 degree east orbital slot originally alloted to the Philippine administration by virtue of an international agreement have been transferred to the 161 east orbital slot.

The transfer was successfully coordinated with Brunei Darrusalam and Russia.

The Philippines filed last year, notifications for 161 degree cast orbital slot and 153 degree east orbital slot and is presently awaiting ITU confirmation.

The government also issued Executive Order No. 147 on the International satellite Communications Policy.

EO 467 has the following highlights:

  • Direct access to all international fixed and mobile satellite by international telecom carriers and broadcasters.
  • Permissive approach to the use of earth stations owned and operated by foreign news media organizations.
  • Access to Global Mobile Personal Communications by satellite (GMPCS) systems.

The government also issued a policy paper on convergence for public discussion.

The policy paper looks at convergence as a means of ensuring that Filipinos benefit from this synthesis of technologies and services.

Eventually, a bill will be filed to facilitate the optimization of existing network facilities, while at the same time, encourage the entry of new services that can contribute to the attainment of universal access.

At the same time, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Circular Nos. 5-6-98 and 1-8-98 feature the new allocations of radio frequencies for the cellular mobile telephone system (CMTS) and the GMPCS, respectively.

NTC Memo circular Nos. 19-11-98 and 20-11-98 contain allocation of frequencies for two-way paging service and the extension/modification of wireless local loop (WLL) frequency, respectively.

Lichauco said these issuances, manifest the government's effort in paving the entry of new services, like two-way paging and GMPCS.


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