Cignal TV and Radius Telecoms have announced the launch of a new pay-TV and home internet service called RED Broadband. Radius Telecoms is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), which itself is part of Manuel V Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments, while Cignal is wholly owned by MediaQuest Holdings (under the PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund, which is also part of the Pangilinan conglomerate). The pair say that RED Broadband is offering households unlimited fibre broadband internet and pay-TV starting at PHP1,299 (USD27) per month and according to ABS-CBN News, will compete directly with the likes of SKY Fiber which also provides pay-TV and home broadband services.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month MVP Group, the conglomerate of several regulated businesses chaired by Pangilinan that includes PLDT Inc., withdrew its bid for Lopez-owned Sky Cable (SKY Fiber), amid concerns its plan ran the risk of attracting the attention of antitrust regulators in the country – given its existing businesses that already overlap with those of the cableco. Pangilinan told reporters: ‘We have withdrawn bidding process of Sky Cable. Why we did that? Upon review of Bayanihan II, [the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)] has power to review mergers and acquisitions.’ In short, MVP was keen to avoid a situation in which the PCC might force it to divest internet and cable businesses it owns – in PLDT and Cignal TV – to avoid falling foul of anticompetition rules.