NOW Telecom Company, Inc. said on Friday that its legislative franchise as a telecommunications company had been extended for 25 years, or until 2043, boosting its chances of bidding for the slot as third new telco player in the country.
“On 22 February 2018, the franchise granted to NOW Telecom Company, Inc. has been extended for another twenty-five (25) years or until Year 2043 under Republic Act No. 10972 which was signed for approval into law by the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” the company told the stock exchange.
“With the said law, NOW Telecom, as a telecommunications company, now has privileges similar to those granted to existing dominant players in the industry,” it said.
NOW Telecom is an affiliate of NOW Corp. In January, NOW Corp. had expressed interest to compete for the third telco slot.
Kristian Pura, Business Development head at NOW Corp., confirmed to reporters that the group will “definitely participate” and that their consortium will be composed of local firms and a foreign investor to further bolster financial support.
“There have been several groups already … We’re engaging with them. We will be finalizing some details but as of now I can’t talk. ‘We’re a] Philippine consortium with a foreign telco,” Pura said.
Aside from NOW Corp, private firms Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp (PT&T) and IP Converge Data Services, Inc. are said to be also forming their respective consortiums to bid for the license as third major telco player.
On Monday, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said a prospective new player must have at least P10 billion net worth, a congressional franchise, and technical expertise in order to compete against the so-called telco duopoly of PLDT and Globe Telecom.
DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio, Jr. has said the government will accept bids for the new telco license by the “middle part of May” this year and announce the winning bidder five days after the submission of bids, or before the end of May.