Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T), which was set up in the 1960s, is consider partnering with an overseas investor to re-establish itself as a major telecoms player to challenge the country’s duopoly of PLDT and Globe Telecom.

The company plans to offer nationwide broadband internet service in three years, The Philippine Daily Inquirer (The Inquirer) reported.

According to the newspaper, PT&T was a rival to PLDT until the Asian financial crisis forced it to file for rehabilitation in the late 1990s. It was acquired by a group of investors led by businessman Salvador Zamora in August for about PHP800 million ($15.7 million).

Zamora, now PT&T chairman, told The Inquirer it needs a strategic partner and is considering companies including China Telecom and India-based Reliance Jio. But initial talks will have to wait unit it receives approval to lift a 13-year-old voluntary trading suspension.

The company, with 700km of fibre in Metro Manila, aims to first focus on the fixed broadband market and become a strong third player in the country.

In October 2016 Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte warned the county’s two dominant mobile operators he would open the market to Chinese competition if they fail to improve their poor service.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said in October 2016 it aims to sell unused 3G and 4G spectrum by the middle of this year in an auction open only to new mobile players.

Globe and Smart, the mobile unit of PLDT, traded places as the market leader by mobile connections over the past four quarters, with each holding a near 50 per cent share at end-June, according to GSMA Intelligence.

According to wireless coverage mapping company OpenSignal’s latest data (covering May to July), the average download speed in the country was nearly flat at 8.6Mb/s compared with its analysis covering November 2016 to January 2017. The global 4G average is 16.2Mb/s.