Several foreign firms waiting in the wings to partner with 3rd telco player

Several foreign companies are just waiting in the wings to team up with whoever wins the coveted third telco slot in the country, said the head of publicly-listed Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T), a company urging to be the next major telco player.

“My view is the foreign partner would come in once the new major player is announced. So a lot of them are waiting in the wings, and whoever wins, they’d partner with that, with that company,” PT&T president and chief executive officer James Velasquez said.

So far, six local firms and seven foreign companies have expressed interest in bidding for the spot to become the country’s next major telco player, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio disclosed last week.

The local firms are PT&T, NOW Corp., Converge ICT, Transpacific Broadband Group, EasyCall, and Tier One.

The interested foreign companies, which would serve as partners or would form a consortium with a local franchise holder, meanwhile, are China Telecom, Korea Telecommunications and LG Uplus from Korea, Telenor of Norway, Vietnam Telecom, one Japanese firm, and a US company – which could be AT&T, according to Rio.

For its part, Velasquez said PT&T is in advanced talks with several foreign companies that would help in the deployment of network.

“We have been preparing to bid, maybe six months ago. So we’re just waiting for all of us to move forward. We’re ready to submit our proposal,” he said.

Velasquez said there are many ways for the company to fund the capital required to be the next major telco player without having onboard a foreign partner.

“Part of that would be private equity. As you know, PT&T is also with the Philippine Stock Exchange. We went for voluntary suspension, but we’re planning to re-list. So we’d like to have access to the capital market as well,” he said.

PT&T told the local bourse last week that its board of directors approved the increase in authorized capital stock of the company to P15.6 billion from P3.8 billion.

The increase in the authorized capital stock of PT&T will “allow the company to secure additional funds and investments for its operations.”

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