Tele­com firm rais­ing funds via pub­lic of­fer­ing

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - BUSINESS - By Miguel R. Ca­mus

Tier One Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a bud­ding telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany with of­fices in Metro Manila and Davao, is plan­ning to raise around $200 mil­lion through a pub­lic of­fer­ing this year as part of its bid to be­come a ma­jor telco player in the Philip­pines.

TierOne chair Jonathon Bent­ley Stevens said in an in­ter­view with the In­quirer last week that the com­pany had tapped Price wa­ter house Coop­ers as fi­nan­cial ad­viser for its planned list­ing on both the Philip­pine Stock Ex­change and the Nas­daq in the United States.

Fresh fund­ing will sup­port a fixed-in­ter­net roll­out plan for TierOne brand Dot Mo­bile, which will ini­tially fo­cus on Min­danao—a mar­ket Stevens said had been ne­glected de­spite its im­mense po­ten­tial.

“If Dot Mo­bile is the first com­pany to ap­pear in these un­served ar­eas, we’re go­ing to have brand loy­alty you can kill for,” said Stevens, an Aus­tralian-born busi­ness­man and long­time res­i­dent of Sa­mal, Davao del Norte.

TierOne has a fran­chise to pro­vide telco ser­vices in the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao. Stevens said it also had a stake in Min­danao Is­lamic Tele­phone Co. Inc., which was hold­ing a na­tional fran­chise that would ex­pire in 2023.

This will al­low the com­pany to roll out broad­band ser­vices across the Philip­pines, which has a pop­u­la­tion of over 100 mil­lion peo­ple, a large por­tion of whom re­side in ar­eas with lim­ited to no con­nec­tiv­ity.

The plan car­ries risks, con­sid­er­ing that se­cu­rity is­sues in Min­danao have yet to be re­solved.

“When Pres­i­dent Duterte was elected, it gave us the con­fi­dence that peace and or­der would be dealt with,” Stevens said.

He said TierOne would also par­tic­i­pate in the third telco ini­tia­tive of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, spear­headed by the Depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (DICT).

The com­pany has over a dozen part­ners, in­clud­ing device maker ASBIS and Mil­li­wave Sys­tems for net­work sup­port. Stevens said TierOne was also in talks to bring In­dia’s Tata Com­mu­ni­ca­tions on­board.

The DICT is fi­nal­iz­ing the terms of ref­er­ence for the se­lec­tion process of a new mo­bile player—tar­geted within the last quar­ter of 2018—that will chal­lenge the PLDT Inc. and Globe Tele­com du­op­oly.

The DICT an­nounced last month that the bid­ding rules would be based on the high­est com­mit­ted level of ser­vice model. This means a third player will be cho­sen based on its com­mit­ted in­ter­net speed, in­vest­ment and pop­u­la­tion cov­er­age.

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