MANILA, Philippines – State-run National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) put its name forward as a possible partner for China Telecom Corporation Ltd in a bid to establish a long-sought after 3rd player in the Philippines’ telecommunications industry.
“We can be the 60%. They have the technical expertise in operating and TransCo has the facilities to offer. This will shorten the process,” said TransCo President Melvin Matibag at a Department of Energy (DOE) briefing on Monday, December 11. (READ: China Telecom to help establish 3rd PH telco player – Andanar)
But Matibag clarified that no discussions have taken place yet.
He added: “It’s beyond my pay grade. I think they are talking to somebody higher, maybe the secretary, secretary of [the] Department of Finance or the Office of the President. What I did is to make the available recommendations.”
The TransCo head did lay out a timeline for how soon it could begin covering areas as a telco should it partner with China Telecom or a local firm. (READ: 10 firms eye partnering with TransCo for telco entry)
“The way we project it, for Luzon we can do it in 6 months, and for the entire country for one year. This is from the time it’s going to be agreed and all,” Matibag said.
TransCo, which owns all of the country’s transmission assets that link power plants to electric distribution utilities, announced plans to diversify into the telco industry last October and asked Congress to amend its charter to allow it to do so.
This comes as Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that the Chinese government has selected China Telecom to invest in the Philippines’ telco industry following an invitation by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
It is still unclear how any arrangement would proceed, however, as the 1987 Philippine Constitution limits foreign ownership to 40%.
Newly revitalized Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corporation is another potential partner. It previously said that it was in talks with China Telecom and Datang Telecom.
The Philippines’ two telco giants, Globe Telecom and PLDT, both have foreign telco partners – Globe with Singapore’s Singtel and PLDT with Japan’s NTT Docomo. – Rappler.com