NOW positioning as potential 4th telco player
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — NOW Telecom Co. Inc., an affiliate of publicly listed NOW Corp., is looking to position itself as the country’s potential fourth major telecommunications player through a nationwide expansion plan supported by a billion-dollar fiber network investment in the country from Singapore’s HyalRoute Group.

NOW Telecom president Rodolfo Pantoja said its impending partnership with HyalRoute and local subsidiary Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd. Inc. (PFOCN) would accelerate the firm’s nationwide deployment through the availability of a nationwide transmission backbone.

Pantoja said the collaboration with HyalRoute would open to NOW Telecom underserved markets that are currently prohibitive due to the large capital expenditures needed.

He said the presence of a provider-agnostic fiber operator solves one of the key infrastructure elements of NOW’s 5G plan and allows the company to launch disruptive 5G offerings.

“The nationwide backbone (of HyalRoute-PFOCN) allows us to replicate our success in Metro Manila with guaranteed throughput broadband services that continue to resonate with enterprises especially those where availability of reliable broadband is mission-critical,” Pantoja said.

NOW Telecom last month executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PFOCN which will enable the parties to collaborate for the commercial use of shared fiber infrastructure assets nationwide, including access to fiber optic cores and other related facilities.

The HyalRoute Group, through PFOCN, is investing between $1 billion and $2 billion to roll out a fiber optic cable network in the Philippines, which will then be leased to telcos, internet service providers, and cable TV operators, among others.

The investment will be implemented in various phases between 2019 and 2028.

Once established, PFOCN’s fiber optic cable network will become the new “shared network infostructure in the Philippines,” according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

HyalRoute is a Singapore-based company regarded as the leading provider of shared communication fiber network in emerging Asia.

Aside from its partnership with HyalRoute, NOW Telecom last June also signed an agreement with ALT Global Solutions, one of the 24 telecommunications tower-sharing companies that have signed MOU with the DICT, for the provision of shareable telecom infrastructure.

NOW Telecom has also announced earlier plans to offer 5G or fifth generation wireless technology, which will allow the delivery of up to 20 gigabit per second speed to enterprises and homes.

NOW Telecom has a 25-year congressional franchise to provide telecommunications services throughout the Philippines and is a cellular mobile telephone system licensee.

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