UK-based global mobile carrier Vodafone Group is reportedly considering options to participate in the Philippines’ third telco initiative to select a New Major Player (NMP) to take on the might of de facto duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom. According to a report from GMA News, Philippine Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno confirmed ‘the possibility of Vodafone entering as our third telecommunications [operator]’. Diokno said that the British telco’s interest was one of the ‘highlights’ of the country’s economic team’s recent meetings with the UK business sector last week, and when pressed for more information, he said that while Vodafone has not made an official expression of interest, it was clear that ‘they want to come in, in a big way’ and to that end are carrying out the necessary due diligence.
If it does go forward with a bid, Vodafone would need to partner with a local telco to participate in the NMP award process. Local telcos potentially in the frame include Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co (PT&T), NOW Telecom, Converge ICT Solutions, Easycall Communications Philippines and a group led by the businessman Dennis Uy. The foreign firms so far identified by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are: China Telecom, South Korea’s LG Uplus, KDDI of Japan, Vietnam’s Viettel Group, AT&T (US) and Telenor Group of Norway. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi operator Grameenphone, a joint venture of Telenor and Bangladesh-based Grameen Telecom, is also understood to be interested in taking part. The opening of the bids is set for early November 2018.