Now Telecom to challenge Philippines incumbents

A new telecom company, Now Telecom, is reported to be considering challenging the present Philippine duopoly.

A telecom company owned by the Velarde family is reported to be considering challenging the duopoly of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom Inc.

This week they asked the Philippines’ Duterte administration to assign it mobile frequencies.

Velarde said that the new company, Now Telecom, would concentrate on quality mobile data services: “People are willing to pay for quality data. I think there is room for a premium mobile cellular player in the country,” he said.

Velarde said the company was open to foreign partnership for its mobile telephone foray by next year.  “There is a room for a third player or more due to high demand,” he said.

In the past the politically favored telcos accumulated frequencies. Under the Duterte administration, the Velarde family believe, they have a chance to obtain the frequencies they need to do business said Mel Velarde, president of Now Telecom Inc., formerly Next Mobile, talking to reporters in the Philippines.

Velarde said his company could roll out mobile telephone service in a year or once the NTC granted its request for frequencies. He said a cell site would cost about $150,000.

Velarde said Now Telecom was interested in the 700-megahertz bandwidth previously used by PLDT and Globe.

He said Now Corp was in talks with Telstra and other foreign submarine cable providers to increase its broadband bandwidth.

“We have the license to buy direct from submarine cable providers,” Velarde said.

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