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Converge ICT to partner with KT for 3rd telco bid

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THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. has committed to joining the government’s bid for a new telecommunications player, with South Korean telecommunications giant KT Corp. as its partner.

“Converge ICT of Dennis Uy Pampanga announced last Friday that they are definitely joining, and they are partnering with Korea Telecom (KT). That came from them,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. told reporters on Monday.

KT, the largest telecommunications company in South Korea, claimed to be the first telecom provider to introduce 5G broad-scale trial service this year.

Mr. Rio said the participation of Converge ICT will bring the total number of prospective bidders to nine, as eight foreign and local companies already purchased bid documents last week.

Excluding Converge ICT, five local players have already paid for selection documents, namely businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp., a consortium of Davao-based telco TierOne Communications International, Inc. and former politician Luis “Chavit” C. Singson’s LCS Group of Companies, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T), Now Corp. affiliate Now Telecom Co., Inc. and an undisclosed company.

Three foreign firms also firmed up their interest in the bidding, namely Telenor Group from Norway, China Telecom Corp. Ltd. from China and Mobiltel Holding GmbH from Austria after buying the selection documents.

“So nine, including the announcement of Dennis Uy of Converge ICT, as of now,” Mr. Rio said.

Bidding for the third telco player will be on Nov. 7, but prospective participants may download selection documents from the website of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) anytime and pay until the morning of bidding day.

The government is expected to announce the winning third telco before Christmas.

Representatives from Converge ICT are regular attendees in third telco bidding events, despite the earlier pronouncement of its president Dennis Anthony H. Uy that the company will first prioritize its nationwide expansion for its fixed broadband.

Mr. Uy said in August it will need “quite deeper study” to venture into the mobile business, and would have to tap international players to join forces with to make it happen.

Converge ICT has earlier partnered with KT as well as US-based Tyco Electronics Subsea Communications LLC (TE SubCom) and local firm Fibernet Konstrukt Corp. for its fiber optic cable (FOC) construction project. The companies will help Converge ICT in building infrastructure for the company’s $1.8-billion nationwide expansion plan. — Denise A. Valdez