Telstra venture questioned
A TELECOMMUNICATIONS venture between San Miguel Corp. and Australia’s Telstra Corp. Ltd. that aims to challenge incumbent Philippine players has yet to materialize, but a commissioned study by a research company overseas is already casting doubts on its viability.
The report by Australia’s Creator Tech Pty Ltd., e-mailed to reporters Tuesday, mainly focused on the potential for costs to balloon to three times the size of the roughly $1 billion that Telstra executives said it may invest for a 40-percent stake in a venture with SMC.
The study also took aim at the lack of information about the venture, Telstra’s low success rate in Asia, SMC’s track record as a telco operator and regulatory uncertainties that may follow as President Aquino’s term ends in 2016.
“There are a number of questions regarding the viability of the possible new 4G network to be built in the Philippines under the aegis of a joint venture between Telstra Corporation and San Miguel Corp.,” said the Creator Tech study.
The report was commissioned by Hong Kong-based Stolzenberg & Associates “on behalf of a client who has Telstra shares,” an individual with knowledge of the matter said.
Telstra moved swiftly on Tuesday to discredit the study, and said its own investors were worried about the implications of the partnership on the Australian telco giant’s bottom line.
“The Creator Tech report is a speculative piece of selective reporting. Our position remains unchanged. We are in discussions with San Miguel about a potential joint venture in the wireless market in the Philippines,” a spokesman from Telstra said in an e-mailed statement.
SMC and Telstra earlier confirmed talks but no details were given as to the timing of the launch of any partnership.
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