Eliseo Rio Jr., the acting secretary for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), has confirmed that Villar-led Streamtech Systems Technologies has declared an interest in becoming the Philippines’ New Major Player (NMP) – aka the third telco – but will now need to find an experienced foreign partner if it is to make it reality. In a text message to the Rappler newspaper yesterday (24 October), Rio said: ‘Yes, they expressed interest but would have to look for a foreign partner that has at least ten years [experience] in a nationwide telco business.’
This week, Streamtech Systems Technologies was awarded a 25-year franchise to operate a telecommunications system nationwide by President Rodrigo Duterte. One of its bosses – Manuel Paolo Villar, son of former Senator Manuel Villar – is quoted as saying that if successful, it would ‘roll out internet services to Vista Land properties’. He also went on to say that the company is interested in expanding nationwide and may seek a foreign partner to do so.
On the same day that Streamtech was issued with its franchise, industry regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) confirmed that an as yet unnamed company had also paid PHP1 million (USD18,600) to buy bid documents for the NMP selection process. In total, nine companies have reportedly acquired bid documents allowing them to participate in bidding in November, including: China Telecom, Mobiltel Holding, Telenor Group, Udenna Corp, TierOne Communications-Luis Chavit Singson Group, NOW Telecom, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T) and two undisclosed firms.