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LCS-TIERONE CONSORTIUM

Armed with satellite, Chavit’s group raring to bag 3rd telco slot

/ 05:13 AM November 06, 2018

LCS-TierOne Consortium announced its readiness to bid this week for the third telco slot as it outlined an early strategy that would rely on satellite-based internet and portable cell sites for the quick delivery of services across the Philippines.

Ilocos politician Luis “Chavit” Singson, who heads the LCS Group of Companies, a major investor in the consortium, said the group had invested an undisclosed sum in a broadband satellite.

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According to Singson, the satellite is being built by American aerospace giant Boeing and that it will be launched by 2019.

Singson said the use of a broadband satellite was a key part of their strategy to immediately reach customers, including those in far-flung areas without a traditional telco connection.

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He added this was the consortium’s edge over its competitors, including telco giants such as South Korea’s KT Corp. and China Telecom.

“We’re the only one among the bidders with a satellite. That’s our big advantage,” Singson said in the interview.

Satellite broadband is typically used to plug gaps in an existing telco network. The reason for this, according to experts, is that satellite-based signals tend to suffer from longer lag times and are prone to weather disturbances.

In response to those issues, Singson said they would also lay down fiber cables, tap the spare fiber assets of the state-run National Transmission Corp. and partner with smaller internet service providers.

Singson said using satellite broadband would give the group immediate nationwide coverage, thus, allowing the consortium to score high marks in terms of national population coverage—a major criterion in the bidding.

The consortium claimed its broadband satellite would be capable of delivering internet speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second to users. Traditional telcos offer similar plans, but without elaborating, Singson said they would sell their services at much lower rates.

Another key aspect of LCS-TierOne’s strategy is its telco-in-a-box. These are solar-powered modified cargo containers that will function as all-in-one cell sites, Wi-Fi hotspots, and retail centers. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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