New Mobile Broadban Company Coming to the Philippines

San Miguel Corp.plans to build a new mobile broadban company in a joint venture with Telstra Corp. of Australia. telstra philippines


The 700 MHz Band is the Key

San Mig owns the 700 MHz band, located above the TV broadcast channels, which penetrates buildings and walls and covers larger areas.

Mobile wireless service providers in other countries have been using the 700 MHZ  spectrum to offer mobile broadband services.

Countries all over the world are moving out of analog TV and therefore freeing this very efficient and optimal 700 MHz band for mobile telecommunications

The Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that have not used the 700 MHz despite new technologies introduced to make mobile data services more cost efficient.

The 700 MHz frequency is more cost-efficient to roll out because of its wider coverage and in-building penetration than higher frequency bands.

Globe and Smart are pissed

Rivals Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications are pissed.  They want San Miguel to share some of its “very powerful” frequency band.

Currently, San Miguel’s wi-Tribe and High Frequency hold 80 MHz and 10 Mz in the 700 MHz spectrum. It also owns Express Telecommunications Inc., Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc. and Bell Telecommunications Philippines Inc.

“They [Globe and Smart] have more than enough frequency between them. They have almost 300 megahertz of LTE [long-term evolution] frequency, why do they need more? All they need is to improve and fine-tune what they have,”  says San Miguel president Ramon Ang.

“They want what we have, so that we could not operate,” says Ang.

With a new player to break the duopoly in the telco industry, Ang said consumers are expected to benefit in terms of lower prices and better services.

“It (service) will now improve for sure,” he said.

Globe Sucks

globe sucks

I completely agree with Mr. Ang. We have Globe’s so-called “unlimited” broadban service at our home in the Philippines and we desperately need more competition and better service among the telcos in the Philippines.

Once I use up  my 3GB  in Globe’s for the month, our internet crawls from 3G to 2G speeds and becomes virtually useless.

Globe’s “Fair Use Policy” states that users are allocated 1GB of data a day or 3GB of data a month (whichever comes first.) Users who exceed that number will automatically be downgraded to 2G browsing speeds if they exceed their 3GB limits for the month.

I don’t download movies or television shows but my “unlimited” usage is used up a week or two before the end of the month. Therefore, I have to wait for the first of the next month to start this whole vicious cycle over again.

Will Globe and Smart Get a Piece of the Pie?

PLDT and Globe asked the National Telecommunications Commission, NTC, for their fair share in the 700 Mhz band.

NTC director Edgardo Cabarios said the agency is lukewarm to the proposal of PLDT and Globe citing the need to promote competition in the market.

Hopefully the NTC, which NEVER replied to my formal complaint filed with them regarding Globe’s moronic policy, will stick to their guns.

The planned joint venture between San Miguel and Telstra would see the local conglomerate holding a majority stake, in compliance with the 1987 Constitution,  which limits the foreign ownership of utilities to a maximum of 40 percent.  No wonder the Philippines consistently ranks last among Southeast Asian countries in foreign investments.

Telstra plans to invest less than $1 billion in the Philippines to roll out the telecom network.

Telstra currently operates customer service centers in the Philippines that serves its clients globally. San Miguel earlier said it planned to launch mobile broadband services as early as January next year.

San Miguel has  four telecommunications companies under its portfolio, including Express Telecommunications Inc., Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc., Bell Telecommunications Philippines Inc. and Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc.

I’m excited to learn about this new broadban company which is sorely needed in the Philippines. The monopoly held by Globe and Smart and their extremely poor service is one reason the Philippines ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to internet speeds.

Of nineteen Asian countries, the Philippines ranked second with the slowest internet speed at 3.64 Mbps, only ahead of Afghanistan with 2.52Mbps.

Perhaps the misery of many Filipino and expat internet users will finally come to an end.

(Source: The Standard, Philstar)

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