The Philippines’ sole remaining analogue mobile network operator Express Telecom (Extelcom) has confirmed it is dropping plans to introduce digital services based on the global system for mobile communications (GSM) platform, in favour of deploying a network based on the rival code division multiple access (CDMA) protocol. According to Extelcom’s incoming President, Felomena Veto, the company will initially invest USD20 million in the network with funding provided by ‘interested parties willing to help Extelcom put up a CDMA network’. The cellco is keen to adopt a new approach since it was sold by Millicom International Cellular to Scott Sproule Cellular and Marifil Holdings earlier this year. Extelcom, which reported around 32,500 subscribers at the start of April 2003, down from 51,000 in mid-2002, now aims to migrate to the cdma2000 1X network by the end of 2003. It hopes to attract at least 100,000 CDMA subscribers in its first six months of operation and expects the new network to match its existing AMPS set-up in terms of national coverage. Extelcom is owned by Scott Sproule Cellular (37%), Marifil Holdings (42%), Mayon Holdings (12%) and other investors (9%).
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