Philippine startup telco NOW Telecom says that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has renewed its license to operate mobile services using the 800-MHz band, keeping its hopes alive to crack the market’s mobile sector.
Mel Velarde, chair of NOW Telecom’s parent company NOW Group, said in a statement Monday that the operator received the licence on October 2, 2023.
Velarde said the license renewal was a “much needed boost” for its plans to enter the Philippines mobile market to take on incumbents PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecom, as well as relative newcomer DITO Telecommunity, which launched services in 2021.
Velarde also said the renewed 800-MHz licence would “strengthen the communications security and connectivity to vital critical infrastructures in the country.”
The latter is a reference to NOW Telecom’s plan to focus on establishing critical communications infrastructure for sectors such as dams, defense, industrial bases, government facilities and power plants that require “secure, reliable and robust communications systems using only trusted equipment.”
According to local media, NOW Telecom has been talking with the Philippine military, the Cybersecurity Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC), and the US Department of Homeland Security to identify which sectors would benefit from critical comms infrastructure.
Earlier this year, NOW Telecom signed a letter of intent with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to develop a 5G network in the Philippines. Both parties agreed to conduct a 5G trial in metro Manila, with the USTDA providing funding and technical assistance for the project. Nokia Bell Labs Consulting is designing and implementing the pilot 5G network.