Locsin tells PLDT to drop 'roaming partnership' with China, Vietnam | Global News
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Locsin tells PLDT to drop ‘roaming partnership’ with China, Vietnam

/ 04:53 PM June 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Manila’s top diplomat urged telecoms and digital service provider PLDT, Inc. to drop its roaming partnership with China and Vietnam after messages received by government officials and other visitors to Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) stirred controversy.

“To PLDT. Just drop that roaming partnership sh*t with China and Vietnam. You f*ckers are making my work harder,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said over Twitter.

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“I don’t give 2 sh*ts what your business plan is for that arrangement. Drop it before I visit you,” the outspoken Cabinet official added.

“Welcome to China” and “Welcome to Vietnam” messages greeted military officials and reporters who went to Pag-asa Island on Tuesday.

Among those who received the message were members of the media and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. The group went to the island for the inauguration of a beaching ramp that would aid in the delivery of construction materials for repairs on the island.

In a later televised briefing, Smart Communications spokesperson Ramon Isberto said the operators from its roaming partners in Vietnam and China have signals in the said area.

“The signals that were received noong pumunta yung grupo doon sa Pag-asa Island, these were signals from the mobile operators in Vietnam and China who are our roaming partners,” Isberto said.

(The signals that were received by the group who went to Pag-asa Island were transmissions from the mobile operators in Vietnam and China who are our roaming partners.)

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“Merong signal po yung mga operators doon, in that area of the West Philippine Sea, particularly in that area around Pag-asa Island. Kaya na-pick up po nila yung signal at nakatanggap po sila ng roaming welcome message,” he further said.

(The operators have signals there, in that area of the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the area around Pag-asa Island. This is why their signal picked it up and received a roaming welcome message.)

Dead Smart cell site

Sought for further comment on the issue, Isberto said that the Smart cell site on Pag-asa island “has not been operational for the last few months.”

“It went off-air shortly before the ECQ. During the lockdown, we could not send a repair crew to the island,” he said in an emailed statement to INQUIRER.net.

“This week, as restrictions were relaxed, we were finally able to dispatch a service crew and they are working to restore service within the week,” he added.

He reiterated that a Vietnamese mobile phone operator as well as a Chinese operator have a signal in the area around Pag-asa Island.

“This has been the situation for many years now…[T]hese operators happen to be roaming partners of Smart. So, if you are a Smart subscriber and you visit Vietnam or China, your phone will latch on to these networks and you will receive a welcome message,” Isberto’s statement read.

“Precisely the welcome message that Sec. Lorenzana and the media people received when they visited Pag-asa Island,” it added.

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TAGS: China-Vietnam, Features, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Global Nation, PLDT, roaming partnership
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