PLDT, Globe complete purchase of SMC’S telecommunications unit
Industry giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom completed their acquisition of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunications unit, making their final joint payment to SMC Tuesday while defying the Philippine antitrust body’s request to hold off until the courts make a final ruling.
Officials from PLDT, Globe and SMC confirmed the payment of the remaining P13-billion tranche, in line with the deal launched exactly a year ago covering the joint acquisition by the two telcos of SMC’s Vega Telecom for about P70 billion.
“It’s done,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a text message Tuesday.
Globe CEO Ernest Cu said they were complying with last year’s agreement, which covered the buyout of Vega but specifically targeted SMC’s valuable but underused telco frequencies, assigned to PLDT and Globe as part of the transaction.
“We will just continue the rollout. That is what we are doing,” Cu said, referring to the massive effort to build or equip more cell sites with frequencies previously held by SMC, including those in the 700 Megahertz band. The LTE frequency band is coveted for its ability to cover large areas and penetrate building walls with high-speed internet.
PCC chair Arsenio Balisacan declined to comment Tuesday.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), as a condition for allowing the use of SMC’s frequencies, ordered the two telcos to improve mobile internet services within a year despite the regulator’s limited capabilities in measuring this.
Despite still-spotty services reported by some consumers, third-party services such as Akamai Technologies noted a big year-on-year improvement in mobile internet speed as of early 2017.
The deal followed the breakdown of talks between SMC and Australia’s Telstra Corp. Ltd. to launch a challenger to the PLDT-Globe duopoly.
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