National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), the Philippines state-run firm that holds the country’s transmission assets, has revealed it plans to diversify into the telecommunications market and compete head-to-head with giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom. The company, which was created under Republic Act (RA) 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001, is seeking a change in its Congressional charter so it can offer telecoms services. If it is successful in its bid, it intends to change its name to the National Transmission and Telecommunications Company. TransCo President Melvin A Matibag confirmed the plan, saying: ‘We want to be a provider of telecom facilities’.
TransCo kicked off its power distribution operations on 1 March 2003 using a transmission system that links power plants to electric distribution utilities nationwide. For Matibag, ‘it makes sense’ to diversify into the Filipino telecoms market given it owns fibre-optic cable facilities that could be used to provide internet services nationwide. ‘Funding will be the least of [our] concerns when we would have the franchise and power to do that. After all, we are the owner of the facilities. Globe and [PLDT Inc. subsidiary] Smart are using our towers for telecommunications.’ Matibag says he will formally submit his proposal to Congress before the end of the year and he is confident that the ‘majority’ of the lawmakers will sponsor his proposal.