MANILA, Philippines — Third telco player aspirant Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) is preparing to spend P7 billion over the next two years for the expansion of its broadband network as part of plans to strengthen its position as one of the major players in the country’s telecommunication market.
PT&T president and chief executive officer James Velasquez said the company intends to double its fiber footprint from 10,000 kilometers (km) to about 20,000 km in two years’ time, allowing it to reach more Filipinos in the country.
“We are a 100 percent pure fiber broadband company today. Our plan is to grow that. We have roughly 10,000 kilometers of fiber rolled out in Metro Manila and Regions 3 and 4A,” Velasquez said.
“You’ve already read about our memorandum of understanding with TransCo (National Transmission Corp.). We’re working on that as well, and essentially to get us nationwide presence. We would need a vicinity of P7 billion to build a nationwide backbone,” he said.
PT&T last March signed an agreement with TransCo for the creation of a technical working group to firm up the preparation for the eventual use of dark (unused) fiber in the country’s network of transmission lines for building a broadband network.
“As soon as we sign the final agreement with TransCo, we’re look at 24 months roll out period, by phases. Luzon, within six months. And then within one year, Visayas. And the other 18 to 24 months would be Mindanao,” Velasquez said.
PT&T chief finance officer Alfredo Divino said funding for the planned investment would come from a whole range of capital raising activities.
“It will be a combination of internally generated funds, and possibly with the lifting of the trading of the company, we can explore additional shares in the company. We’ll probably do equity. And then also we’re exploring debt activities. We will calibrate depending on the amounts needed,” Divino said.
PT&T is a publicly-listed company which holds a 25-year franchise, allowing it to establish, maintain and operate both wired and wireless telecommunications systems for domestic and international communication in the Philippines.