NOW Telecom (formerly Infocom Communications Network) is looking to manoeuvre itself into position to become the Philippines’ fourth major telecoms operator, inking a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore-based HyalRoute Group which is looking to deploy a fibre-optic cable network across the country. Working through local subsidiary Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network (PFOCN), the city-state group plans to invest up to USD2 billion to install the new network countrywide, which will then be rented out to telcos, ISPs and cable TV operators, among others.
For its part, NOW Telecom hopes to launch a 5G wireless network in future and sees the tie-up with HyalRoute-PFOCN as one step in the plan to achieve its goal. ‘The nationwide backbone [being undertaken by HyralRoute-PFOCN] allows us to replicate our success in Metro Manila with guaranteed throughput broadband services that continue to resonate with enterprises especially those where availability of reliable broadband is mission-critical,’ said NOW Telecom president Rodolfo Pantoja, noting that building the fibre-optic cable network alone would be cost prohibitive. In a previous regulatory filing, NOW Telecom’s affiliate and listed firm NOW Corp disclosed that the parties ‘will tie up on the commercial aspects of shared fibre infrastructure assets across the nation, including access to fibre-optic cores and other related facilities’.
Pantoja went on to point out that with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan III pushing ‘for the entry of a possible fourth or even a fifth telco player’, NOW Telecom hopes for the opportunity to launch ‘disruptive’ 5G offerings with speeds of up to 20Gbps.