The Philippines’ state run National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) has announced that it is close to signing a deal with privately owned National Grid Corp (NGCP) to use the latter’s national power grid facilities as the backbone for its planned third licence bid. TransCo President Melvin Matibag has confirmed that the company has sent a draft memorandum of agreement to NGCP to secure rights to use the grid for its proposed telecommunications facilities, and will now look to prepare TransCo and NGCP facilities for telecommunications use while waiting for the decision of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the third player.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2017 TransCo 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, said at the time it was 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 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.’