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Biz Buzz: Telstra’s $1-B treat (no tricks)

business / Columnists
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Biz Buzz: Telstra’s $1-B treat (no tricks)

/ 01:23 AM October 30, 2015

IF ALL goes according to plan, the Philippines’ long Halloween in the telecommunications sector—where everyday is a toss up between tricks or treats in terms of service quality—may be nearing its end.

Noise is rising over the planned entry of Australia’s Telstra into the Philippine telecommunications market with partner San Miguel Corp.

Telstra dropped another update, when its chief executive, Andy Penn, told Australian media that it would spend as much as $1 billion on the venture that would break the existing duopoly of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom.

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Penn clarified that both parties had yet to finalize an agreement, but the fact that these big numbers were being thrown around meant a plan was being put in place. The Philippines, after all, is an attractive market, with its population of about 100 million people and the rising clamor for Internet services.

San Miguel president Ramon Ang has been vocal about the need for better Internet services here, saying that a third option for consumers may help improve things.

Of course, everyone’s hope is that the Telstra-SMC venture would turn out to be a big treat rather than a disappointing trick.

In any case, as we always say here in Biz Buzz, competition is always good for everyone involved. Miguel R. Camus and Daxim L. Lucas

No picture taking on the MRT?

LONG lines are not the only inconvenience passengers have to put up with when taking the busy Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Apparently, its security guards have gotten stricter in implementing a rule barring passengers from taking photographs inside the train stations.

Biz Buzz has received some complaints from hapless passengers, who said they needed the images to explain why they were late for work. In one such instance, a guard challenged an already late passenger to speak with his supervisor about the no-photo policy.

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Honestly, we were not aware of this rule, which would also save government officials a bit of embarrassment given the poor state of the line. It’s not only us. Some transportation department officials we asked were also unfamiliar with the guideline.

So we asked MRT general manager Roman Buenafe to clarify this. As is his habit in dealing with the press, that query did not merit any response. No doubt, the general manager has his hands full ensuring the MRT’s smooth operations. Miguel R. Camus

PAL going shopping

IT’S a fortunate time to be a commercial aviation enthusiast.

Months after French plane maker Airbus flew its next generation A350 XWB to Manila as part of a global tour, we hear that US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is looking to do the same with its next-gen 787 Dreamliner.

We don’t have an exact handle yet when this will happen but our source says it could be fairly “soon.”
It’s no surprise that the Philippines is getting such unprecedented attention.

Flag carrier Philippines Airlines already disclosed that it was looking at either model for a potential multibillion dollar plane order as it sought more long-haul routes.

The Airbus event, which was held in May, showcased the aircraft as well as a more than hour-long demo flight that hosted top business leaders, airline executives, as well as key government officials.

Unlike normal commercial flights, passengers were allowed to explore the plane after takeoff while chatting up Airbus officials over wine, champagne and canapés.

That personal touch, after all, is important in business deals in Asia—especially one as big as this—even as both Airbus and Boeing, no doubt, place the final touches on their respective sales pitches.

The order, of course, is linked to PAL’s aspirations to become a “five-star” carrier, as its president Jaime Bautista put it.

Bautista, who was lured back from retirement after his long-time boss, tycoon Lucio Tan, retook full control of PAL in 2014, said he had no plans on stepping down until this goal was achieved. That could happen very soon or quite some time from now, depending on how you view PAL today. Miguel R. Camus

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: airlines, airplanes, Australia, Boeing, connection, Globe, Internet, Models, MRT, PAL, picture taking, planes, PLDT, San Miguel Corp., smart, Telecommunications, Telstra
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