NOW Telecom Company, Inc., an affiliate of listed firm NOW Corporation, was granted an extension of its authority to build and operate a nationwide wireless communications network, a development seen by experts as a step closer to the company’s efforts to become the country’s fourth telco.

The approval by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) extends NOW Telecom’s license to install, operate and maintain a trunked radio dispatch communications system, digital trunked radio system and most importantly, mobile telecommunications network in selected areas in the Philippines. 

NOW Telecom’s authority was renewed at a recent NTC’s en banc session. 

NOW Telecom President Rodolfo Pantoja commended the government’s approval, as it manifests the government’s efforts to promote competition by further liberalizing the telecommunications industry, a move that will ultimately benefit the subscribing public. 

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan affirmed the government policy when he was quoted as saying that he is open to considering a fourth or even fifth telco player.

“We have been providing guaranteed broadband to enterprises including the government sector,” Pantoja said.   

NOW Telecom also has a 25-year congressional franchise to establish and operate a nationwide cellular mobile telephony system (CMTS), which expires in 2043. NOW is one of only four companies that have a CMTS license, the others being PLDT, Globe Telecom and Dito Telecommunity.

NOW officials previously expressed NOW’s preparedness to collaborate with Dito Telecommunity to provide better telecom services. 

NOW  telecom has also previously announced its plans  to offer 5G  wireless broadband for the delivery of gigabit speeds to homes and enterprises. 

In line with its move towards 5G, NOW Telecom recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the world’s leading provider of shared communications fiber network, a move that will bring NOW a step closer to nationwide 5G deployment. The other party to the MOU, the Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd. (PFOCN) is a subsidiary of Hyalroute Group, a Singapore-based company which specializes in the deployment and operation of shared fiber-optic backbone. 

Pantoja explained that 5G will pave the way for the offering of more complex applications and solutions. Moreover, cloud-based solutions and virtualization of network functions will allow the much quicker deployment of highly scalable, nimble and cost effective networks.  

According to sources, NOW Telecom is expected to announce more partnerships in the coming months in support of its 5G aspiration. (30)