MANILA, Philippines?Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is bent on grabbing market share and revenue away from bigger players in the crowded but lucrative telecommunications sector as it draws up plans to offer the public attractive voice and text services.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the company?s telecommunications unit Liberty Telecom Holdings Inc. would bid for phone frequencies, allowing the company to offer a wider range of services.
Liberty Telecom, which operates under the brand wi-Tribe, is currently trying to grow its broadband Internet business using wireless interoperability microwave access (WiMAX) technology.
?We are waiting for the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) to bid out the last 3G frequency,? Ang said at a recent briefing.
The remaining 3G, or third generation frequency, can be used for calls and text messaging, as well as broadband services for mobile phones and other devices.
There are a total of five 3G frequencies that can be used in the country. Four are currently used by Smart Communications, affiliate Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise (CURE), Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular.
The last frequency still has not been assigned to any network.
Smaller telcos have since filed court cases to secure the last frequency from the NTC. The commission is awaiting a resolution of all cases before it bids out the remaining frequency.
?We are continuing with our network rollout but we are still waiting for the bidding for the last 3G frequency,? Ang sad. ?We plan to compete in all areas of the industry.?
Liberty Telecom is a joint venture between SMC and the QTel group of Qatar.
Earlier, Ang said the wi-Tribe brand would come out as an attractive alternative for mobile phone subscribers in an industry that would soon be dominated by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).
PLDT is set to take over operations of Sun Cellular through a P74.1-billion share-swap deal. The transaction with Digital Telecommunications Philippines (Digitel), operator of Sun Cellular, will be completed by the end of next month.
The deal, which will result in PLDT cornering 70 percent of industry revenue, has raised concerns that it will kill industry competition, leading to higher rates and slower innovation.
The Ayala group?s Globe, the second-largest industry player, has also urged the government to strip PLDT of some of its frequencies once the Digitel deal is completed as a way to preserve competition.