PHILIPPINE Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) has denied forming a partnership with three entities for its telco player bid, contrary to a report by a research arm of Fitch Group.
“We would like to clarify that there is no partnership between Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T) and LG Uplus, National Transmission Corporation and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines,” the company told the local bourse on Monday.
This came after a report quoted BMI Research as saying that PT&T had inked partnerships with Korea-based LG Uplus, the National Transmission Corporation (NTC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), making PT&T and NOW Corp. the frontrunners in the battle for the third telco slot.
“The state-owned utilities provider owns a fiber-optic backbone which runs alongside its transmission grid, which we believe can easily be augmented to provide last mile fiber connectivity,” BMI Research.
“In the event that any material transaction or agreement is entered into with any of these entities, PT&T will officially notify the Exchange through the required disclosure. At any rate, PT&T is having talks with potential partners that will strengthen its position in the telecommunications industry. However, PT&T cannot disclose the identity of the said entities at this point in view of non-disclosure agreements executed by PT&T,” the company said.
Sought for further clarification, Miguel Bitanga, chief operating officer and treasurer at PT&T, declined to give names or how many firms the company was in talks with. But in a text message on Tuesday, he said: “Partnerships range from pure financial to strategic ‘all in one’ foreign operators (and groups in between).”
In its report, BMI Research also mentioned NOW Corp. as a “potential competitor” to PT&T’s bid given NOW Telecom’s extended legislative franchise.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has removed the P10-billion net worth requirement for the selection of a new telco player amid concerns raised by prospective bidders.
DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio has said the government will be looking at the bidders’ committed services and technical expertise, instead of basing its selection on the highest investment. This is to ensure the new player has the capacity to roll out needed infrastructure to better serve Filipino consumers.
Rio said the government is targeting to name the third telco player in June this year.