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Biz Buzz: Fighting over frequency

/ 03:21 AM December 02, 2015

THINGS are still red hot in the telco industry and it appears the National Telecommunications Commission —or one of its executives rather—has inadvertently joined the fray.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) didn’t take too kindly to recent statements made by Edgardo Cabarios, who heads the regulatory division of the NTC, on how difficult it was to reassign San Miguel Corp.’s 700 Megahertz spectrum coveted by PLDT and Globe Telecom.

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PLDT officials yesterday claimed the NTC official’s statements reeked of personal bias and was unofficial, given that both PLDT and Globe had existing applications to have the spectrum reassigned.

Cabarios was responding to media queries on what he thought were the challenges in reassigning a frequency that has already been assigned. Of course, anything to do with SMC’s 700 Mhz—a very scarce and valuable asset—is touchy given the conglomerate’s plans to use this to launch a powerful broadband service with possible partner Telstra Corp. Ltd. of Australia.

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We’ll leave the legal arguments on this complex issue to the brilliant lawyers on every side of the fence.

Based on what we’re hearing, the one thing that’s clear is the reassignment of any frequency is difficult, time-consuming… and maybe even political, with the upcoming elections. Miguel R. Camus

AlDub in 2016

IT CERTAINLY can’t run forever but if you ask “Kapuso” GMA Network Inc. chief finance officer Felipe Yalong, the top-rating “AlDub” Kalyeserye segment in variety show Eat Bulaga—topbilled by today’s hottest love team, Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza—could stretch out its storyline and keep its vast audience hooked at least until next year. Thus, expect more twists and turns to extend the longevity of this popular segment.

GMA7 also seeks to work with AlDub on a second film in 2016, following AlDub’s movie debut “God Gave Me You,” which will run this December. GMA7 has a “small part” in this first AlDub movie venture but it expects to play a bigger role in the next film to be produced in 2016, which is considered to be a partnership between GMA Films and APT Entertainment Inc., the TV and film production subsidiary of Eat Bulaga’s producer TAPE Inc.

The Kapuso network is, of course, very happy with the high ratings achieved by Eat Bulaga for the network because of this innovative series. Although Eat Bulaga is not an in-house TV production, Yalong noted GMA7’s close relationship with its producer TAPE. As Richards is a Kapuso talent/recording artist (although Mendoza is not), Yalong said this close relationship with TAPE would allow the network to embark on more projects to feature the love team.

And also because of the phenomenal impact of AlDub on consumer goods endorsed by the love team (McDonald’s faced a supply shortfall in chicken fillet as demand was 4.5 times bigger than expected), Yalong said at least 10 more Aldub commercial endorsements were expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

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Strike while the iron is hot! Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Money in Mindanao

AS PROOF that there’s growing consumer affluence even in the countryside, we heard from the ground that SM Retail—which debuted in Zamboanga City through CityMall—has run out of inventory as Zamboangueños have gone on a buying binge. This was the first time for SM Appliance to open a store in Zamboanga City.

CityMall, which opened a mall in Zamboanga in September, is the shopping mall brand of CityMall Commercial Centers Inc. (CMCCI), a subsidiary of DoubleDragon Properties that, in turn, will roll out a total of 100 community malls across the country by 2020. The SM group has a 34-percent stake in CMCCI, which gives SM’s retailing business the first crack to set up shop wherever CityMall will be.

Although there wasn’t any branded mall in Zamboanga City before CityMall opened, Jollibee has been operating in Western Mindanao’s center of commerce for more than 10 years now while Mang Inasal has been operating there for eight years, giving DoubleDragon (led by the founders of Jollibee and Mang Inasal, Tony Tan Caktiong and Edgar “Injap” Sia II) a good comfort level to operate a business in that part of Mindanao.

CityMall is working to make Visayas and Mindanao a formidable turf. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Under new management

THE BOARD of trustees of the Asian Institute of Management did not waste time in selecting a new president for the country’s top business school, following the decision of the previous president, Dr. Steven De Krey, to end his contract early.

Biz Buzz learned that AIM has since appointed the school’s dean, Dr. Kang Jikyeong, as its new president. This comes at a challenging time for what was once Asia’s premier graduate school for business, but which has since fallen behind other wealthier institutions from around the region.

A member of AIM’s board told Biz Buzz that Dr. Kang—who has also been teaching at the school since 2014, specializing in marketing and strategic brand management—has been tasked to come up with a new business plan for the school in a bid to help it become more competitive.

“She will have to map out her own strategy for the school. That’s the marching order of the board,” said our source, while pointing out that the main goal was still to improve AIM’s enrollment numbers, which has lagged behind other business schools from Hong Kong and Singapore (given their partnerships with more illustrious counterparts from North America and Europe).

Dr. Kang, of course, is no lightweight. Her profile page on the school’s website says she was appointed AIM dean only nine months after having joined the institution. Previous to this, she was the director for the DBA (that’s “doctor of business administration,” the equivalent of a PhD in business ad) program for the Manchester Business School. She’s had stints in Spain, Netherlands, China and Korea, having earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota, her master’s degree from Colorado State University and her bachelor’s degree from Hanyang University in Seoul.

Something tells us, however, that AIM will be her greatest challenge yet. Best of luck! Daxim L. Lucas

E-mail us at [email protected] 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: “God Gave Me You”, Alden Richards, AlDun, APT Entertainment Inc., CityMall, Edgardo Cabarios, GMA7, Maine Mendoza, National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., PLDT, TAPE Inc., telco industry
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