State-run National Transmission Corp (TransCo) and Philippine Telegraph & Telephone (PT&T) reportedly are interested in partnering with China Telecom to establish a long sought after third player in the Philippines and end the duopoly held by PLDT and Globe Telecom.
TransCo president Melvin Matibag said the company could be a majority partner in a telecoms venture and combining China Telecom’s technical and operational expertise with TransCo’s facilities would “shorten the process” of setting up the operation, Rappler reported.
The company owns the transmission assets linking power plants in the country to electric distribution utilities. In 2016 it announced plans to diversify into the telecoms industry and asked Congress to amend its charter, Rappler said.
While Matibag noted no discussions have taken place with China Telecom, he said TransCo could be the 60 per cent partner in any joint venture: regulations limit non-domestic ownership of a public utility to 40 per cent.
Meanwhile, PT&T chairman Salvador Zamora said recently it plans to partner with a Chinese operator and was in talks with eight companies regarding a strategic partnership. He said it is set to sign a deal before the end of the year, Reuters reported.
The Philippines government identified China Telecom as the company to become the third operator in the country, with plans to invest in its often-criticised slow internet service, a matter of weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte invited China to invest in the country’s telecoms sector.
PT&T, which was set up in the 1960s, announced in October it was considering partnering with an overseas investor to re-establish itself as a major telecoms player to challenge PLDT and Globe Telecom. The company plans to offer nationwide broadband internet service in three years.
Globe and Smart, the mobile unit of PLDT, traded places as the market leader by mobile connections over the last two years, with GSMA Intelligence figures showing they each held a near 50 per cent share at end-September.