NOW Telecom, the communications arm of Mel Velarde’s NOW Corp, is considering offering fifth-generation wireless services in the Philippines in a bid to challenge de facto duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) – the country’s New Major Player (NMP) or ‘third telco’.
In a statement this week, the CEO said NOW Telecom’s board had approved the adoption of 5G services for homes and businesses in the country, which it claims will deliver speeds of up to 20Gbps. Echoing Velarde, NOW Telecom President Rodolfo P Pantoja said: ‘The Decentralised Gigabit Era is upon us now. 5G will allow high wireless bandwidth in low latency scenarios, allowing for further complex technologies to exist. 5G is necessary for the Internet of Things [IoT] to thrive. With cloud computing, you can now decentralise the business of telecommunications.’ It is understood that Mr Pantoja, a former CEO at Indonesian 4G operator Smart Telecom (Smartfren), has been brought in to improve NOW’s telecoms business. Further, the telco’s board of directors have agreed to an 11% share swap with its parent NOW Corp, which will increase the latter’s share in NOW Telecom to 30%. ‘This will satisfy the congressional franchise requirement for NOW Telecom to have the public own at least 30% of the company,’ it said, while Velarde added that if needed, his group is ‘willing to explore other offering options such as listing by way of introduction for NOW Telecom’.