Third telco race heating up as Sys weigh options
The family of tycoon Henry Sy may just turn out to be a force to reckon with in the race to become the Philippines’ third telecommunications player should they decide to make a go of it through Philippine Global Communications Corp. (Philcom)
Sy-led leisure estate and gaming developer Belle Corp. owns 46.64 percent of APC Group Inc., which in turn owns more than 70 percent of Philcom.
The search for the third telco operator is shaping up to be an exciting one with the emergence of interest from a new group led by the country’s wealthiest man whose net worth surged to $18 billion last year from $13.7 billion in 2016.
APC chairman Willy N. Ocier said Philcom attended the public hearing held by the Department of Information and Communications Technology on the proposed terms of reference for the selection of the rightful third player that could crack the duopoly of telco giants PLDT Inc. and Globe.
“We attended the open forum hosted by DICT at Novotel Hotel. We need more information and clarification on the terms of reference,” Ocier said
When asked whether the group would vie for the third slot, Ocier said: “It all depends on the terms and possible incentives.”
Ocier said the group is open to taking in foreign partners but declined to give details as it is bound by a non-disclosure agreement. “We have NDA,” he said.
Another source said there was no definite plan yet and that they were just exploring their options.
Philcom’s Congressional franchise had been extended for another 25 years or until 2037.
The DICT had sent a letter to Philcom, encouraging the telco firm to take part in the bidding.
Originally known as Radio Corporation of America, Philcom provides subscribers leased line connections to the internet and access to the webat breakneck speed for video and audit files, network gaming, streaming and bandwidth-heavy applications.
It also offers internet services with an option to avail IPTV channels for SM tenants, voice solutions that provide connection to domestic and international long distance traffic, and data solutions that offer dedicated lines using digital technology to enable point-to-point connection that caters to domestic and international requirements of companies.
Philcom was the first to open a direct radio telegraph circuit between Manila and the US in 1927. It was also the first to provide international telex services in the country in 1955 and to provide international fax services in 1978.