TBGI enters race to become third telco in the Philippines

13 Jul 2018

Transpacific Broadband Group International (TBGI), a publicly traded firm in the Philippines with interests in VSAT-based internet services, wireless networking, educational programmes, applications hosting and content conversion, has announced its intention to enter the race to become the country’s third major telecoms player. Local press report that in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange TBGI has unveiled a number of initiative to support its bid, including selling up to 40% of the company for foreign investors in a private share sale, setting up a common tower company and tapping Chinese technology and telco partners. In the regulatory filing, which was submitted by TBGI vice president Paul Saria, the company said its board has approved the private placement. ‘The chairman informed the board of the need to raise funds from a private placement, up to 40% of common equity from foreign sources, to be able to participate in various opportunities in the telecommunication market brought about by a directive of the government to have a third telco in the Philippines, the statement read.

TBGI holds a ‘valuable’ telco franchise, which will expire in 2023. ‘Given that the terms of reference for the third telco is clear and definitive, TBGI can now actively pursue its strategies in expanding business activities,’ the company, led by businessman Arsenio Ng, said in its filing. To support its telco venture, TBGI cited an energy investment with affiliate ATN Holdings, a holding company also controlled by Ng, the Philippine Business Inquirer notes. The company says it may participate in a consortium of third telco investors, or it may instead participate in a consortium which will lead the construction of communication towers in the country. TBGI could also look to establish an office in China in coordination with a Chinese consortium in telecommunications and technology.

TBGI generates revenues from a variety of internet services to clients such as schools, private businesses and government agencies. Revenue in FY 2017 rose 6.6% to PHP41.52 million (USD665,000), although losses during the period surged to PHP4.58 million from a profit of PHP1.48 million in FY 2016.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the naming of the much anticipated third telco could take place by the end of September or early October this year, barring unforeseen setbacks. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) published its draft terms of reference (TOR) for the selection of the so-called New Major Player (NMP) to challenge PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom on 26 June, a long-time pledge of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippines