NOW Corp. is standing by its earlier statement that affiliate NOW Telecom is the country’s fourth mobile telco player despite having no official declaration from the government. In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, the company said its board of directors “unanimously” approved the increase in its authorized capital stock to P1.86 billion from P1.50 billion. Now Corp. is hiking its authorized capital stock to P1.86 billion to raise funds for capital expenditures.
The capital stock will comprise of 2.57 billion common shares with a par value of P0.70 each and 60 million redeemable, convertible, non-participating, and non-voting preferred shares with or without detachable warrants with a par value of P1 per share.
The company said the increase in authorized capital stock will be “for capital expenditures, working capital, and other general corporate uses as well as additional investment in an affiliate.”
In an earlier disclosure, Now Corp. said it had partnered with Vietnam’s Viettel Business Solutions Corp. to offer information and communications technology (ICT) products and services in the country.
The Philippines is Viettel’s 11th overseas market, according to Now Corp. Viettel currently operates in Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Cameroon, Peru, and Haiti.
However, will this be enough to compete with Globe, PLDT, and Dito Telecom? National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios himself “confirmed” that NOW Telecom is the fourth telco given its license to operate a mobile network.
NTC deputy commissioner, however, Now Telecom may find it hard to compete in the mobile space, which is now dominated by Smart and Globe, and with the entrance of Dito Telecommunity, the winner of the third telco auction.
“I don’t think so. There are so many players in the market in the first place, but when we talk about mobile there are only three major players. Now is authorized as a mobile network operator,” he said in an earlier statement.
Now, he said, has limited radio spectrum allocated to it at the 3,500-megahertz (MHz) mid-band.
“They have the spectrum, but it’s only limited at 20 MHz. So, you really cannot compete, but you can be hitting a niche market,” Cabarios said.
Now Telecom executives had said that the group plans to offer 5G wireless broadband services in the Philippines both for homes and enterprises, signing a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd. for the deployment of a fiber-optic backbone.
“5G will pave the way for the offering of more complex applications and solutions. Moreover, cloud-based solutions and virtualization of network functions will allow the much quicker deployment of highly scalable, nimble, and cost-effective networks,” the company president said.
Other officials from both the NTC and DICT were tight-lipped on whether NOW Telecom has enough frequencies to compete against the incumbents given the number of their frequencies and capital.
Kristian Pura, head of business development and strategy at NOW Corp., told The Manila Times the company has frequencies “to run a [fifth] generation (5G) communications technology.” Asked whether that would be enough to tap the market, Pura did not reply as of press time.
Both Globe and PLDT have started offering their 5G mobile services to select areas in Metro Manila, but it remains a niche market as 5G phones have yet to arrive in the masses.
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