Globe open to SMC tie-up to get piece of 700 MHz band
Globe Telecom remained keen on getting a slice of San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) powerful 700 megahertz (MHz) frequency and would even consider acquiring companies controlled by the latter if these were for sale.
Globe CEO Ernest Cu said in an interview the company was already “open” to such a deal given that petitions filed as early as 2005 seeking an allocation have been ignored by the National Telecommunications Commission.
SMC holds almost the entire 700 MHz spectrum, a low-band frequency ideal for covering large areas and penetrating walls, through its companies Wi-Tribe and High Frequency Telecommunications.
Wi-Tribe is owned by publicly traded Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc., which has a market value of P4.6 billion.
“Of course, it [the prospect of buying] occurs every once in a while,” Cu said, while clarifying that no offer has been made. “We are always open.”
SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the conglomerate would use the frequency to launch a third mobile player this year, breaking the duopoly of Globe and Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Ang said the service would initially cover Metro Manila up to Pampanga in the North and Batangas in the South with “cheaper and faster” broadband Internet.
Ang, in a text message Thursday, said any offer would need to be discussed internally.
Globe and PLDT are seeking a portion of the 700Mhz, saying this was the solution to growing congestion in the digital highway. Both telcos have cited global organizations calling for the harmonization of the frequency.
SMC’s entry into the telco space comes at a time when both incumbents, facing explosive demand for Internet services driven by data-hungry smartphones, have been dodging criticisms over their slow and expensive broadband.
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