Converge ICT today held a press conference to make a big announcement. And before you get too excited, the fiber-service provider did not say it will join PLDT and Globe Telecom as the Philippines’ third carrier.
In fact, speaking to Revü, Converge chief operating officer Jesus Romero categorically shot down speculation over whether they would break the country’s duopoly in the wireless-telecom industry.
“Our focus is on building out and expanding our fixed broadband,” Romero said. He added that the company sees greater potential for growth in the wired-broadband industry — which he curiously described as “unserved and underserved.”
And he may be right, considering that based on the latest census projections, the Philippine population could hit 107 million by the end of the year, and yet only 1 million out of 22 million Filipino households have fiber-based broadband service in their homes.
However, Romero also clarified that Converge is open to working with any other private outfit that will need fiber-optic infrastructure to deliver wireless carrier services, in whatever form that takes. For now and in the foreseeable future, the firm clearly has its agenda set.
Which brings us to our next point — and, really, the reason why Converge decided to hold a briefing earlier: fiber-backed internet for the rest of the country, from North Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao.
The ambitious undertaking, estimated to be a five-year, multi-billion-dollar endeavor, will see Converge working with several international subcontractors, such as Korea Telecoms, LSI-Fibernet Konstrukt Corporation, and TE Connectivity Subcom, to name just three. We’re now in Year 2 of the five-year plan.
The subcontractors, which went through an RFP [Request For Proposal] process, according to Romero, will build the foundation — and the foundation alone — of Converge’s domestic fiber network outside of Central Luzon and some areas in South Luzon where it currently operates.
As to why it needs third-party help to roll out its fiber service, Romero said the company wants to fast-track “extending its footprint” without paying another service provider a premium for the use of its broadband infrastructure. The way the industry is set up right now, the alternative is simply too expensive, we’re told. “We also want to be able to control the cost and quality. And to do that, we need to build a backbone,” Romero added.
In a statement, Converge says that high-speed and reliable fiber internet will be available to 13 million households nationwide when the rollout is completed. The plans that are going to be offered in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be consistent with what’s currently on offer.
Converge says that high-speed and reliable fiber internet will be available to 13 million households nationwide when the rollout is completed. The plans that are going to be offered in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be consistent with what’s currently on offer.
Converge’s cheapest plan starts at P1,500 (roughly $28) for up to 25Mbps of wired fiber internet. The most expensive plan for residential areas will set you back P7,000 ($132) monthly for downloads of up to 500Mbps. Packages that cater to small- and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs and corporate clients are also available.
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