PLDT: Goodbye, CURE
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) group will surrender the 3G license of one of its operating mobile phone units to the regulators in July.
“We are on track to follow the agreement, which is 9 months after the deal has been approved, for us to turn over CURE (Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises, Inc. (CURE),” said PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno.
CURE operates the Red Mobile brand, which has 1.4 million subscribers. PLDT would have to migrate them to its main mobile phone subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc., which, together with another brand under its wing, Talk 'N Txt, have a combined subscriber base of 47.6 million.
The turning over of CURE's license and congressional franchise to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was part of the conditions imposed by the regulator when it approved PLDT's acquisition of Digital Telecommunications (Digitel) in October 2011.
The P64-billion-worth deal between PLDT and Digitel, a listed phone firm that used to be majority controlled by the Gokongwei family, is the largest in the telecommunications industry and was delayed due to fears of the industry's return to the hands of a few.
From the time the deal was approved in October last year, PLDT was given by the NTC nine months to execute its divestment plan, which includes an orderly transfer of Red Mobile subscribers to Smart.
NTC gave PLDT 9 months to execute its divestment plan, which includes an orderly transfer of Red Mobile subscribers to Smart. NTC then has to bid out CURE's 3G frequency bandwidth to prospective buyers.
PLDT's Nazareno said they expect to be paid back P1 billion, which represents its total investments in CURE. This includes amounts include, among others, the $10 million acquisition price for CURE and P65 million annual spectrum users' fee.
Proceeds from the sale will be used by the phone giant to partly bankroll its operating expenses.
Smart bought CURE from the Ongpin family in 2008. - Rappler.com