Villar-led Streamtech Systems Technologies backed out of the Philippines’ third telco race yesterday (4 November), deciding not to participate ‘after extensive discussions by the management,’ its president Paolo Villar said in a text message over the weekend. Without providing its reasons, Villar reportedly said the group ‘would rather pursue other internal expansion plans and strategies.’ The group is a newly-incorporated entity which holds a Congressional franchise – granted by the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte – for 25 years to provide fixed and wireless services via a national broadband network utilising a range of mobile, fibre-optic and multichannel multipoint distribution systems, and switches.
With up to ten firms expected to participate in the process to find the New Major Player (NMP), President Duterte’s administration claims the process is now in full swing despite Streamtech’s decision. However, another bidding group Tier1 has also cast doubt on proceedings with its partner Millawave claiming that requirements to participate in the bid process are being changed ahead of the deadline for bids. Millawave president Ed Millana is quoted by ABS-CBN News as claiming that the changes include ‘a manager’s cheque requirement for a PHP700 million [USD10.2 million] participation security’. Despite its concerns, it is understood that Tier1 still plans to pursue its bid.