NOW Telecom gets provisional extension to operate as ‘4th telco’
MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has extended the provisional authority of NOW Telecom Company, Inc., the telecom affiliate of NOW Corporation, to install, operate, and maintain a nationwide mobile telecommunications system.
Under the NTC order, the PA is subject to the infusion of additional capital of at least P1.9 billion based from the first two years capital expenditure of P6.3 billion in the submitted rollout plan and approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the increase in the authorized and paid-up capital, according to the telco unit.
It added the PA is not specific to 3G or third-generation mobile communications technology but can extend to other technologies such as 4G, 5G, “or even outer space.”
In a statement Monday, NOW Telecom said the NTC also required to accelerate the installation of its broadband data service in suburban and rural areas and that in each phase of project implementation, it shall directly comply with the 70:30 ratio of urban to suburban and rural network rollout coverage.
“We are moving forward with the corporate restructuring of NOW Telecom to take it to the next level. NOW Corp and NOW Telecom were the first to introduce 5G broadband speed of up to 3Gbps direct to our existing enterprise clients,” NOW Group of Companies founder and chief executive officer Mel Velarde said.
The NTC also prohibited the telecom from sharing or co-using its frequency to either PLDT or Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and DITO Telecommunity Corporation or any other entity without first securing approval from the commission.
NOW Corp. said its telco unit is among four firms with cellular mobile telephone service (CMTS) licenses in the country, alongside SMART, Globe, and DITO.
According to NOW Telecom, the NTC also said that based on the company’s financial position, its debt-to-equity ratio complies with the 70-30 requirement of the commission.
The NTC added that its total capital requirement for five years amounts to P15.9 billion and that the company has to infuse at least 30 percent of total CAPEX requirement for two years in the amount of P1.89 billion.
As the country’s “fourth telco,” NOW Telecom is currently setting the stage for its public listing as well as its 5G or fifth-generation network rollout.[ac]
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