The other side of the ZTE story
Manila (20 September) -- Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman emeritus Miguel Varela has joined Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales in calling for a fair investigation into the ZTE deal, saying "all sides must be heard."
Varela made the statement in reaction to the media and political hailstorm that has buffeted the ZTE deal and the public personalities allegedly involved therein.
Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles for his part advised the public not to speculate but to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on the matter.
Nograles said, "Anyway, eventually all this will reach the Supreme Court. Better let's just wait for its finality."
Meanwhile, even as the Senate hearings on the issue have turned into the most-watched reality show on Philippine television, many are still in the dark as to what ZTE the corporation is all about.
ZTE Corporation is China's largest telecommunications equipment provider specializing in customized network solutions for telecom carriers all over the world. The service it was supposed to undertake for the Philippines was to custom-design and create a National Broadband Network, a system which would link all the cities, municipalities and barangays all over the country in a single network which would provide instant communication with government offices in Manila.
ZTE's experience and stature as a telecommunications giant is the result of similar partnerships with over 500 telecom operators in more than 120 countries around the globe.
Just last September 13, ZTE Corporation struck another deal with a foreign telecom provider. AR Telecom, Portugal's leading network telecom provider, announced that it has appointed ZTE to build Portugal's backbone transmission network.
Last month, ZTE signed an agreement with Telkom Indonesia, the largest InfoCom company and full-service network provider in Indonesia.
Among other recent deals inked by ZTE are India's transmission network with BSNL, Tunisia's national transmission network with Tunisie Telecom, and Nepal's cellular lines network with Nepal Telecom.
ZTE board Chairman Hou Weigui credits self-developed technologies for its phenomenal success and says ZTE's experience "can be used for reference by many companies in both developing and developed countries."
In light of ZTE's background and expertise, Ramon Sales, former head of the Philippine Commission on Information and Communication Technology, told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee during a hearing last Tuesday that from a business point of view, he supports the ZTE deal.
Sales said that the government currently spends P4 billion annually in telecommunication costs. He referred to computations and said ZTE's offer could save the Philippine government P30 billion within the same period, in contrast to just P17 billion in projected savings if the government accepted the proposal of ZTE's rival Amsterdam Holdings. (OPS/PIA) [top]