AdChoiceTV News — Antitrust regulators are running after Greenfield Development Corp. for barring residents at one of its condominium projects from subscribing with other internet service providers apart from its own.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) was responding to a December 29 complaint by unit owners at Twin Oaks Place in Mandaluyong City, who were left with no choice for an ISP other than Leopard Connectivity Business Solutions Inc which Greenfield also owns.
This means the likes of Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc. are not permitted to install connections to Twin Oaks residents, regardless of the quality of Leopard’s services. For competition chair Arsenio Balisacan, this is a classic case of “abuse of dominance.”
“Abuse of dominance cases are evaluated with the end view of dismantling exploitative and exclusionary practices in business and ultimately empowering consumer choice,” Balisacan said in a statement on Monday.
“Under the Philippine Competition Act, an entity found to have abused its dominance in the market could face a fine of up to P110 million,” he added.
Greenfield officials could not be immediately reached for comment as of this posting.
According to PCC’s assessment, Leopard charges residents P2,699 monthly for a maximum of 20 megabytes per second broadband connection and P3,500 a month for 100-150 Mbps network, costly rates that would have availed customers faster or similar broadband speeds with other ISPs at a cheaper cost.
Investigations also found that while Twin Oaks and Leopard Connectivity are owned by a similar company, existing installations at the condo tower are not configured exclusively for Greenfield’s own ISP. This means other broadband networks are free to establish connections there and that they would work just fine.null
This was not the first time a developer was penalized by PCC for the same malpractice. In April 2019, antitrust officials slapped a P27.11- million fine against Urban Deca Home in Ortigas in Pasig for what was deemed was a monopolistic behavior of limiting ISPs in its building. The condominium tower was developed by 8990 Holdings Inc.
Some other locations of Urban Deca still have the practice of having its own brand exclusively use at their condominium. Including Urband Deca Campville and Urban Deca Towers. Which unit owners can formally file a complaint at the PCC for this malpractice.
“As more Filipinos shift to working and learning from home under the new normal, property developers competing in the market of digital connectivity should not resort to unduly foreclosing competition and restricting choices for consumers, but compete on fair terms,” said Orlando Polinar, PCC’s enforcement director.
“After all, the competition law does not prevent condominiums to offer their own ISPs, provided other options are made available to residents,” he said in the same statement. — via Albert Rovic Tan