SMC in talks with Australian telecom firm | Inquirer Business

SMC in talks with Australian telecom firm

/ 03:24 AM August 29, 2015

San Miguel Corp. is in talks with Telstra Corp. Ltd., Australia’s leading mobile phone operator, for a possible partnership in the highly competitive telecommunications business.

The potential launch of a mobile phone service by a new player is seen rekindling pricing war in the local telecommunication industry, currently under the duopoly of Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom. Such heightened competition benefits consumers but curbs the profits of mobile phone operators.

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SMC president Ramon S. Ang confirmed in a text message that the conglomerate was considering a potential partnership with Telstra.

This followed Telstra’s regulatory filing on Friday saying: “We note recent speculation concerning Telstra considering an investment in a wireless joint venture in the Philippines with San Miguel Corp. and that financing is being sought in relation to that joint venture.”

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The letter of Telstra secretary Damien Coleman to the Australian Stock Exchange added: “We are in discussions in relation to these matters. However, no agreements have been reached … and there is no certainty this will occur.”

After SMC’s break-up with former partner Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), it was widely speculated to be hunting for a new foreign partner. However, Ang had said SMC could jumpstart the business on its own.

SMC recently consolidated control of telecommunications unit Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc.

Telstra has long been keen ot enter the Philippine mobile phone business through a partnership with SMC but could not enter into formal discussions while Q-Tel was in the picture, sources said.

Q-Tel and SMC teamed up through Liberty Telecoms in 2009 but have not been able to offer mobile services on top of the broadband service under the Wi-Tribe brand.

Ang is keen on focusing on mobile broadband, saying that voice and SMS (text) services are obsolete.

If SMC would be able to offer fast mobile broadband, Ang said in a recent interview that Filipino consumers would benefit and other telecom players would be prompted to improve their service.Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

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TAGS: Business, Mobile phones, partnership, San Miguel Corp., telecoms, telstra corp. Ltd.
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