NOW Telecom gets PA extension to operate as fourth telco


The Philippines’ NOW Telecom has been granted an extension of its provisional authority, allowing it to operate as the country’s fourth telco.

NOW has had its provisional authority (PA) extended allowing it to install, operate, and maintain a nationwide mobile telecommunications system. The PA is not specific to 3G tech, and can extend to 4G, 5G and “even outer space”, according to the company.

However, it is dependent on NOW raising additional capital of “at least 1.9 billion” Philippine Pesos, in addition to other conditions.

“As the country’s fourth telco, NOW Telecom, an affiliate of publicly listed telecommunications, media, and technology firm Now Corp., is currently setting the stage for its public listing as well as its 5G or fifth generation network rollout,” the company said in a media release.

Mel Velarde, the founder of NOW Group of Companies and CEO, commented: “We are moving forward with the corporate restructuring of NOW Telecom to take it to the next level.

“NOW Corp and NOW Telecom were the first to introduce 5G broadband speed of up to 2Gbps direct to our existing enterprise clients. Our next move is to extend said service to the residential and consumer markets,” he added.

The group also plans to go public and, according to local reports, is assessing the possibility of doing so without an initial stock offering. Unicapital Inc has been appointed to advise NOW on this, as well as other financial matters, and also assist with a planned corporate restructure.

But in a twist to the tale Eliseo Rio, the former head of the Philippines department of information and communications technology, has told media that NOW’s “fourth telco” claim is nothing more than an attempt to boost its parent company’s share price.

He was quoted in the Manilla Times yesterday as saying: “They have been saying that since around two years ago to boost their stocks”.

In July Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued the country’s so called “lousy” telcos a December deadline to turn around their performance and prevent the government taking “drastic steps”.

He said in a televised address: “Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ to Bethlehem. Better have that line cleared.”