Davao telco taps ZTE, Nokia in bid to be No. 3 telco player to dismantle Smart-Globe duopoly
A Davao-based telecommunications network joins forces with ZTE and Nokia for $2 billion project to connect Mindanao’s underserved areas to the world using 100 mbps high-speed wireless communications system.
TierOne International, a cellular and broadband network based in Davao City, will set up 50,000 towers in five years nationwide.
It will pilot the project in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with about 1,000 towers, initially benefiting the government and schools in remote areas.
It has also included in its pipeline the connectivity of schools in Marawi City with the Mindanao State University (MSU) as the identified site where the first tower will be installed.
Jonathon Stevens, Board Chairman of TierOne, said was still waiting for the go signal from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) before before it could roll out the $2 billion projects in ARMM and Marawi.
TierOne is positioning as a contender for the third player telecommunications provider in the Philippines. The project will be completed within the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It comes into the ring on the shoulders of three giant partners, the Boston-based Parallel Wireless, Finland-based Nokia, and the China-based ZTE,” Stevens said.
According to Stevens, Parallel Wireless, Nokia and TierOne signed strategic partnership for the installation of the 50,000 towers focusing on the rural and underserved areas.
Parallel Wireless, Stevens said is one of the most awarded telecom hardware and software developers in the world and supplies transmitters.
Founded by Steve Papa, Parallel Wireless has agreed to develop micro-cell towers for TierOne that operate totally off-grid, are solar powered and have satellite receptors built-in to the transmitter requiring only 20 watts to operate or huge land to install towers.
In running the system, Stevens said TierOne does not need fiber optic but only the small towers that will be installed in rooftops of schools or government buildings.
“It is ideal for remote locations,” Stevens stressed. Stevens said ZTE was interested in partnering with TierOne to build a totally new Philippine National Broadband Network with a large Davao City-based data storage center.
TierOne will be installing towers in every school nationwide with a $500 million in foreign funding. TierOne is committed to make the programs like the national geographic and encyclopedia needed for the students’ research and as part of the education program.
“There is no reason the Philippines can’t have the brightest students in the world, they just need access to the right information,“ said.
The government can shell out funds as counterpart estimated to cost P20.000 per student.
“We are starting in Cotabato with 100 Mbps line to build their new network and assist the regional government with its critical lack of connectivity,” Stevens said.
Aside from schools, TierOne would install towers in 52 government buildings in ARMM using equipment from Israel, the United States, and Australia.
“The plan is to put up a mini-tower in every school, police and armed forces responder station that is disaster-proof, self-contained and with back up good for the next three days so it can connect to other agencies and can face any threat whatever happens,” Stevens said.
He said the system can also work for the agriculture sector, especially farmers in remote areas.
Connecting remote areas was a commitment of TierOne to President Duterte, Stevens said.
“We will not be another network, we will be the network, said Stevens, who founded the Nevada-based BentlyTel.com, a consortium partner with Cable and Wireless Ericsson, Compaq and Nielsen in a $110 million project to build Australia’s first fiber optic VPN. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)