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Filipino WiMAX start-up reports ‘over 1,000’ users

10 Mar 2010

Filipino WiMAX operator Liberty Telecom Holdings Inc says it has already signed up more than 1,000 pre-commercial test customers to its fledgling Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) service. Speaking to reporters yesterday, the group’s legal counsel Albert Reyes made the disclosure before going on to say that Liberty’s new service is also being trialled in other ‘selected cities in Metro Manila’. Reyes was attending a public hearing organised by the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to discuss the assignment of the remaining third-generation mobile frequency spectrum. The Liberty official however, declined to say when the newcomer, a joint venture between San Miguel Corp (SMC) and Qatar Telecom (Qtel), will launch a full-blown commercial service. For the time being, Liberty Telecom will continue to offer a free trial service to householders in Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati and Quezon City. At launch, it is expected that the firm will attempt to undercut the costs of rival DSL-based broadband packages, with industry watchers suggesting that in a bid to entice new users its monthly rental will start from as little as PHP250 (USD5.48). The Filipino watchdog approved Liberty’s request to test its WiMAX service in these designated areas earlier this year. It is readying itself for a PHP5 billion equity injection following an approval from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January to increase authorised capitalisation to PHP6.8 billion, Business Mirror reports. SMC has already acquired a 32.7% stake in Liberty for PHP1.88 billion, while Qtel acquired a 27.12% stake through Wi-Tribe Asia last year.

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