Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has finally completed its delayed takeover of rival Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (Digitel) after securing the much-awaited approval from National Telecommunications Commissions (NTC).
PLDT, partly owned by Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co Ltd and Japan’s NTT Communications and NTT DoCoMo, purchased a 51.55% share in Digitel from JG Summit valued at about P69.2 billion ($1.6 billion). PLDT and JG Summit had originally pursued to close the transaction by June 30 this year, but had to extend it due to delays in the regulatory approvals. The deal took seven months to close.
The approval by NTC comes with three conditions which includes: the continuation of Digitel’s popular unlimited call and text offers under Sun Cellular brand; reduced interconnection rates to assure PLDT’s interconnection with other carriers; divestment and sale of PLDT’s subsidiary CURE which owns 10MHz of 3G frequency in 2100 band.
The divestment of CURE will follow a plan. CURE will sell its Red Mobile business to Smart Communications Inc. consisting of its subscriber base, brand and fixed assets. Smart will then sell all of its rights and interests in CURE whose remaining assets will consist of its congressional franchise, the 3G frequency, and related permits.
PLDT has been given 9 months for the migration of CURE’s customers and transfer of its assets to Smart. The divestment sale will be conducted within 6 months after the transition period.