The Philippines’ telecoms regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), has approved the transfer of ownership of Bell Telecommunications Philippines Inc (BellTel) to Two Cassandra-CCI Conglomerates, a holding company that once owned a small stake in Liberty Telecoms Holdings, which was bought by San Miguel Corp (SMC) together with partner Qatar Telecoms. Local paper the Business Mirror reports the move paves the way for a PHP3.6 billion (USD78 million) cash injection into BellTel, which is being transformed by its new owners into a credible player in the domestic wireless broadband market.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BellTel is a full-service telecoms service provider which launched commercially in January 2002. It holds the necessary licences and authorisations to install, operate and maintain local exchange and wireless in the local loop (WiLL) networks in several areas including special economic zones, inter-exchange networks, nationwide VSAT network, international gateway facilities and cellular mobile telecommunications network. On 18 December 2009, Two Cassandra acquired a 40% stake in BellTel and under an agreement signed by both pa parties, Two Cassandra will buy the remaining six million shares or 60% of the issued and outstanding capital stock of BellTel after the NTC approves the change in ownership. South China Resources Inc. and Liberty Flour Mills Inc. were two of BellTel’s minority shareholders which sold their stakes to Two Cassandra.