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Telecom Firm Raising Funds via Public Offering

TierOne 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 PricewaterhouseCoopers 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. – Inquirer.Net

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