14 Dec 2015
Ayala-led Globe Telecom says it has successfully integrated its recently-acquired Bayan Telecommunications (Bayantel) subsidiary into its operations, promising subscribers on the unit’s network ‘faster and more stable broadband connections’ by Q4 2016. Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu said: ’We’re going to take whatever assets we’ve gotten from [Bayantel] in terms of the network, we’re [going to] take their customers, and provide additional services because those customers have been starved of these services,’ confirming that Bayantel users will begin to see the benefits ‘towards the tail end of next year,’ specifically in terms of ‘higher broadband speeds, better stability on the service, and an added slew of new offers’. BusinessWorld notes that a September review of high speed broadband in the country, carried out by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in Quezon City, indicated that Bayantel performed worst with a measurement of 563kbps, putting it well behind Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) with 3.367Mbps, SKY Broadband (2.818Mbps), and Globe (2.785Mbps).
‘Our objective is to offer everybody [connection speeds] as high as possible, up to 200Mbps. Right now we [are charging] PHP2,499 (USD52.7) for 50Mbps and PHP3,599 for 100Mbps,’ he said, although he confirmed that there are no plans to launch a new mobile branding of its own for the unit as it is seen as too expensive to do so. For now, the unit will retain the Bayantel name, although Mr Cu did not rule out dissolving the name in future. ‘We don’t know, it depends on the market because Globe is a much stronger brand than Bayan. So we’ll decide on that.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Filipino telco Bayantel exited corporate rehabilitation in October this year, prompting majority shareholder Globe Telecom to confirm that it will invest between USD200 million and USD300 million of fresh capital into the company to kick-start its network modernisation programme. Bayantel exited corporate rehabilitation some eight years before the anticipated deadline, aided by the entry of Globe in 2013 which cut short the process. With debts of USD497 million, the ailing telco sought court-assisted rehabilitation in 2003 and in November 2013 the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 158 confirmed the Amendment of Bayantel’s Rehabilitation Plan under which Globe – as Bayantel’s principal creditor – was authorised to convert its debt holdings into a majority controlling interest of at least 54% in Bayantel’s outstanding shares. Globe has already spent USD172 million on Bayantel, most recently investing PHP1.83 billion in July 2015 to buy out the remaining shares of Bayan Telecommunications Holdings Corp and Lopez Holdings Corp. It upped its stake to 98.57% as a result of the debt-to-equity conversion.