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4 foreign firms eye SMC band

San Miguel Corp. said it received four “serious offers” from foreign investors to be its joint venture partner for a mobile broadband business, after talks with Telstra Corp. Ltd. of Australia bogged down in March.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in an interview at the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. he was also open to talks with Globe Telecom Inc. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. for the 700-megahertz spectrum.

Ang said if the telecommunication companies were interested in San Miguel’s 700 MHz, the telcos should also be willing to share their facilities such as cell sites.

Ramon Ang
“If we do that, I can bring in a foreign partner even faster,” Ang said.

Ang said the four foreign investors with telecom venture offers were asking about the interconnection issue with other telecommunication firms.

“If they [Globe and PLDT] are wiling cooperate and make this a level playing field for the three of us, definitely I am open [for partnership],” Ang said.

Ang said San Miguel planned to offer its own mobile broadband this year.

He said San Miguel would decide before the end of the month or early June on whether it would push through with the telco venture with a partner or on its own.

San Miguel owns 100 Mhz of spectrum in the 700-MHz band, of which 80 Mhz was assigned to wi-Tribe Telecommunications Inc., 10 Mhz to High Frequency Telecommunications Inc. and 10 Mhz to New Century Telecommunications Inc. 

The 700-MHz band, located above the TV broadcast channels, penetrates buildings and walls and covers larger areas.  Mobile service providers in other countries have been using the  spectrum to offer mobile broadband services.

Aside from 700 Mhz, San Miguel Group owns spectrum under the 900 Mhz, 800 Mhz and 1,800 Mhz. 

PLDT Group holds frequency in the 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz and 2,100 MHz bands while Globe owns frequency in the 900 Mhz, 1,800 Mhz and 2,100 Mhz bands.

PLDT and Globe earlier asked the National Telecommunications Commission to reassign the 700 MHz to existing telecom players.

Topics: San Miguel Corp. , Globe Telecom Inc. , Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. , 700-megahertz spectrum
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