NOW Corp communications arm NOW Telecom has secured an extension to its provisional authority (PA) to install, operate, and maintain a nationwide mobile telecommunications system, The Philippine Star reports. The extension, issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), is not specific to 3G-based mobile technologies it said, and can be utilised for 4G or 5G.
It is understood the PA comes with a number of conditions, however, including a stipulation that NOW Telecom secure an infusion of additional capital of PHP1.9 billion (USD39.2 million) – based on ‘the first two years capital expenditure of PHP6.3 billion in the submitted rollout plan and approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the increase in the authorised and paid-up capital’. In addition, NOW is tasked with accelerating the deployment of its mobile internet service in suburban and rural areas where, ‘it shall strictly comply with the 70:30 ratio of urban to suburban and rural network rollout coverage in each of the phases of project implementation’. Further, the terms and conditions prohibit the carrier from sharing or co-using its frequencies with any of the country’s other mobile operators – PLDT (Smart), Globe Telecom and DIT Telecommunity – or indeed, ‘any other entity’ without first securing approval from the NTC.
In agreeing the PA extension, the regulator said it had based its decision on the strength of NOW’s financial position which reportedly ‘complies with the 70-30 requirement of the commission’.
With NOW Telecom setting out its stall to become the Philippines’ fourth major telecommunications player, last month it announced it was considering plans to go public – either in the Philippines or overseas – and to that end had picked Unicapital as its financial advisor for the task at hand.