Tierone pours P3-billion project in ARMM
COTABATO CITY – Tierone Communications International, Inc. (Tierone) will proceed with its P3-billion telecommunications carrier project in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The company’s original plan was to start with a rollout program in Marawi City. Due to the current crisis, however, Tierone had to re-evaluate its business plan. The Marawi rollout, company officials said, will still be implemented but in coordination with the rehabilitation and reconstruction program of the government.
In the revised plan, the company said it will first rollout a pilot program by building facilities in the ARMM compound in Cotabato City that would serve the regional agencies. Tierone will eventually cover the entire region with its P3-billion investment noting there remains a provision for expansion and infusion of additional capital as needed.
The ARMM’S Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) earlier approved Tierone’s project that will cover cellular service in 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and broadband wireless internet to homes and enterprises as well as Wifi for public, or common, areas.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman hailed both the RBOI and Tierone for pushing forward the project despite the frustrations and setbacks. “Since the Regional Telecommunications Commission is directly under the Office of the Regional Governor, we will work to make the project a reality in the ARMM,” he said.
Lawyer, Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI, noted that telecommunications, particularly the internet, is a big enabler for private enterprise and provides many job opportunities.
“In today’s interconnected world with the rise of social media, webbased businesses and a global supply chain using the internet, such investment in telecommunications by Tierone in the ARMM will make the region more integrated and plugged into the rest of the country, while allowing the region to access and compete in the burgeoning ASEAN economy, as well as, the global market,” said Chairman Mastura.
Tierone is 70% owned by Filipinos and 30% owned by Australians. It obtained a franchise to operate as a telecommunications service provider from the Regional Legislative Assembly of the ARMM a few years back.
“In previous years, we were not able to get a spectrum from the Reg i o n a l Telecommunications Commission since the National Telecommunications Commission had not allocated the same for the ARMM. o we did not start commercial operations in the region even though we had already put up the initial facilities such as transmission towers. However, we believe that with the oft-expressed desire of President Rodrigo Duterte to open up the telecommunications sector in the Philippines, this is the right time to restart the project,” said Jonathon Bentley Stevens, Tierone president.
With fast internet service of up to 3,000 kb/s download speed, it will provide coverage for Voice Over Internet Protocol services. The project will also be harnessing the latest technology such as fiber optics and satellite relay with international gateway facility.