NOW Telecom, the communications arm of Mel Velarde’s NOW Corp, is considering plans to go public – either in the Philippines or overseas – and to that end has picked Unicapital as its financial advisor for the task at hand. In a statement, the telco said that Unicapital will also provide input vis-a-vis its proposed corporate restructuring and fundraising which it will use to boost its planned 5G fixed-wireless network rollout across the country. The telco, which holds a Congressional franchise to build and operate telecoms networks in the country, has said that rather than undertaking a traditional initial public offering (IPO), it will instead opt for a Listing by Way of Introduction (LBI) – i.e. listing shares without a lengthy underwriting/public offer undertaking and instead securing bourse approval of its LBI listing following which stock is automatically listed and immediately starts trading.
‘Together with its adviser, NOW Telecom is assessing the suitability of listing its shares on the local bourse or within the region, given its medium-term business plans,’ Mel Velarde confirmed in a statement. The move, the Philippine Daily Inquirer notes, allows NOW Telecom to meet the requirements of its Congressional franchise.
In July 2019 NOW Telecom confirmed its intention to offer 5G services in the Philippines in competition with domestic giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, and new third telco DITO Telecommunity Corporation (formerly Mislatel). ‘NOW Corporation would like to confirm that NOW Telecom is venturing into 5G telecommunications,’ the company’s disclosure confirmed, approving the adoption of 5G services for homes and businesses, which it claims will ultimately deliver speeds of up to 20Gbps. The operator has earmarked investment of USD713 million for its five-year 5G fixed-wireless expansion in Metro Manila, around USD152 million of which would be used in the first three years – mainly to acquire new 5G radio equipment. NOW Telecom claims to have the requisite frequencies to provide 5G services.