According to a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, local firm San Miguel Corp is in the final stages of talks to acquire control of domestic mobile operator Express Telecommunication (Extelcom) as part of its plan to diversify into the nation’s highly competitive telecoms sector. In an interview with the paper San Miguel vice chairman Ramon Ang also took time to scotch rumours that his company was in talks to acquire Bayan Telecommunications from the Lopez family. The paper had earlier reported that San Miguel was negotiating with one of BayanTel’s principal creditors to acquire about USD150 million worth of convertible debt notes that could give the brewing conglomerate a direct stake in the telco. BayanTel’s existing nationwide network is composed of satellite, terrestrial and land/submarine cable facilities. The network includes capacities in the National Digital Transmission Network (NDTN), a joint project of six Philippine telecommunications carriers. BayanTel has an 83% capacity interest in the NDTN project, the only major alternative telecommunications backbone in the country. The other is operated by PLDT.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database reports that Extelcom is currently a joint venture of Marifil Holdings of Bayantel, Scott Sproule Cellular and Digital Excel Development and Mayon Holdings. The cellco has submitted a request to the NTC for cellular frequencies as it seeks to re-enter the market via a GSM platform. It already has a permit to offer wireless services in the country.