ABS-CBN Convergence, the telecoms arm of ABS-CBN, a commercial TV broadcaster in the Philippines, has announced that it will stop offering its wireless in the local loop (WiLL) service bayanPHONE Extra from 16 May 2014, having previously announced the service would be shut down from March next year. In a filing Lopez-controlled ABS-CBN (formerly Multimedia Telephony Inc [MTI]), confirmed the WiLL product would no longer be available. MTI previously acquired the fixed-wireless CDMA assets of Bayan Telecommunications (Bayan) in 2011, which were then transferred over to MTI as part of its plan to expand its wireless voice and data service offering. At the time of the deal Bayan said there are about 100,000 CDMA fixed-wireless subscribers on its books.
In its place, ABS-CBN intends to offer users access to its ABS-CBNmobile products which have been established by dint of an agreement with fellow Filipino operator Globe Telecom in May 2013. ABS-CBN, acting through its ABS-CBN Convergence Inc unit, sealed a network sharing agreement with Globe paving the way for the conglomerate to deliver content and traditional mobile services such as voice, SMS and data over Ayala-led Globe’s infrastructure. ABS-CBN is buying capacity from Globe Telecom under the five-year agreement; it intends to invest between PHP2 billion and PHP3 billion (USD47 million and USD71 million) over three years in the new venture. Initially the new ABS-CBN SIM is expected to be bundled with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. A spokesperson for ABS-CBN says that following the demise of bayanPHONE, ‘ABS-CBNmobile products will be available, depending on [the] existing subscription and service area. This is part of our effort to offer the best services possible as technology evolves.’ ABS-CBNmobile currently has 195,692 subscribers, according to the BusinessMirror newspaper.