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Villar firm, Converge ICT joining 3rd telco race

/ 05:06 AM October 29, 2018

The group of Converge ICT Solutions Inc., an aggressive fixed broadband service provider, and the Villar family’s Streamtech Systems Technologies acquired bid documents in the government’s third telco selection process.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter said an affiliate of Converge ICT paid the P1-million fee to acquire its bid documents on Oct. 23. Streamtech, which was granted its 25-year legislative franchise to operate a national telco service on Oct. 18, acquired its bid documents last Oct. 8 this year, the source said.

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Both groups, among the nine that acquired bid documents as of Oct. 23, had previously asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) not to reveal their identities.

The payment of the selection document fee—a requirement before a company or consortium vying for the third telco slot can submit an offer—is not a guarantee they will actually submit a bid. However, the payment signals more than a passing interest since the NTC allows potential bidders to download the documents for free.

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The group of Converge ICT, led by Pampanga-based businessman Dennis Anthony Uy, is expected to partner with Korea’s KT Corp. It was not immediately known if Streamtech, owned by the family of property tycoon and former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., has selected a foreign partner.

At stake in the selection process are a coveted set of 3G, 4G and potential 5G radio frequencies. These would allow a new major telco player to launch mobile services to compete directly with the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom duopoly.

The third telco initiative was formally launched by the Duterte administration in November last year. The bid submission deadline has been set on Nov. 7, with a likely winner known on the same day or soon thereafter, Department of Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. had said.

Converge ICT had already teamed up with KT, South Korea’s largest telco, for the rollout of more than 1,700 kilometers of fiber cables in Nothern Luzon. This is part of a $1.8-billion nationwide rollout with other partners.

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TAGS: Business, Converge ICT Solutions Inc.
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