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Globe, SMC vying for 3G frequency

/ 08:21 PM August 01, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Two of the country’s leading conglomerates are expected to clash in the upcoming bidding for the third-generation (3G) frequency that Smart Communications recently gave back to the government.

Globe Telecom Inc., led by century-old conglomerate Ayala Corp., on Tuesday said it was making preparations for its campaign to secure the 3G frequency held by Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises (CURE), a subsidiary of Smart.

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“We’ve been vocal about our interest to bid for CURE’S 3G spectrum as part of our drive to provide our subscribers with a better network, especially with the growth of smartphones and the explosion of mobile data use,” Globe corporate and legal services head Froilan Castelo said.

The 3G frequency was given up by Smart to fulfill a condition set by the government when Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. acquired Digital Telecommunications Philippines (Digitel), operator of the Sun Cellular mobile brand.

Another big group keen on the CURE frequency is San Miguel Corp. (SMC) which, in partnership with Qatar Telecom, owns Internet service provider Wi-Tribe Telecom. San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang earlier said the 3G frequency was vital to the growth of the conglomerate’s telecommunications venture.

“SMC will join the bid,” Ang said in a text message to the Inquirer on Tuesday.

For its part, Globe has said it was the only local company that would be able to maximize the benefits of the 3G franchise, with the firm’s extensive nationwide wireless network and financial strength.

A 3G franchise allows a phone company to offer high-value mobile data and broadband Internet services to its subscribers. Demand for these services has increased exponentially over the past two years due to the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers.

In a study released earlier this year, Singapore-based research firm GfK said one in three mobile phones sold in the Philippines in January to March were smartphones that allow users easy access to Internet-enabled services.

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TOPICS: 3G frequency, Globe Telecom, Qatar Telecom, San Miguel Corp., Telcos, Telecommunications, Wi-Tribe Telecom
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