Filipino media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation is aiming to extend the operating franchise of its 66.5%-owned telecom arm, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc, formerly Multimedia Telephony Inc (MTI) and trading as Broadband Philippines, by a further 25 years to focus on developing wireless broadband services.
In the wake of the ignominious shutdown of its MVNO venture ABS-CBNmobile in November 2018, Business World reports that a senior lawmaker, Jericho Jonas B Nograles, has now filed House Bill 3064, which proposes to extend ABS-CBN Convergence’s franchise which is set to expire in 2022. ‘ABS-CBN Convergence sees a lot of opportunities in the wireless market, especially in the wireless broadband segment … Wireless broadband services [are] seen by ASB-CBN Convergence as the preferred choice of service due to its ease in use and mobility,’ Mr Nograles said in the House Bill’s explanatory note. ‘As such, ABS-CBN Convergence decided that it will expand its current wireless business by introducing more products and partnerships,’ he confirmed, pointing out that in extending the operating franchise, ABS-CBN Convergence would be able to continue providing telecommunications services ‘at rates affordable to the consuming public’. Originally trading as MTI, the telco was first granted a franchise under Republic Act No. 8332, back in 1997 and issued with a Public Mobile Telecommunications Systems (PMTS) licence by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in 2005, allowing it to start offering mobile services. It inked a five-year network leasing deal with Globe Telecom in 2015 enabling it to enter the MVNO space, but shuttered the operation in November last year when the business model proved ‘financially unsustainable’.