By James A. Loyola
The Villar group is pulling out of the race for the country’s third telecommunications player leaving about 10 more contenders still planning to bid for the potentially lucrative deal with the government.
“After our evaluation and deliberations among the management, Streamtech has decided not to proceed with the bidding for the third telco and focus on our internal expansion programs and strategies,” said Prime Asset Ventures, Inc. (PAVI) Chairman Manuel Paolo Villar in a statement.
Streamtech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PAVI, has just received its telecommunications franchise over a week ago after President Duterte signed into law the bill that granted it a 25-year congressional franchise.
The Duterte-signed law said Streamtech’s franchise will be revoked if it fails to “commence operations within one year from the approval of its operating permit by the National Telecommunications Commission.”
Department of Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said Streamtech “expressed interest” in securing the third telco slot.
But Rio said Streamtech would have to search for a local partner with at least 10 years of experience in the wireless communications business.
Even if it will not bid for the third telco slot, Streamtech is still seen to have its plate full with its earlier plans of providing telecommunications services, particularly fixed broadband, to the homeowners of residential projects developed by Villar-controlled Vista Land & Lifescape.
The NTC will begin receiving bids for the third telco on November 5 and 6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on November 7 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the agency said in a statement adding that “opening of bids will immediately follow after the 10 a.m. deadline on November 7th.”
At least 10 parties are expected to participate in the bidding, including China Telecom, Norway’s Telenor, Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation and a consortium that includes former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.
The 10 parties that have bought the P1-million bid documents from the NTC, include AMA Telecommunications Corporation, China Telecommunications Corp., PT&T, NOW Telecom, Inc., Telenor ASA Group, Udenna Corp., LCS Group of Companies and Tier 1, Mobiltel Holding GmbH, Converge ICT, and an undisclosed bidder.