Shake-up ahead for Philippine mobile industry from the country’s biggest beer maker

san-miguel-site-720x368The Philippines’ mobile industry, long dominated by two telco operators, will face another competitor by 2016 – the conglomerate that owns the country’s largest brewery.

San Miguel Corporation, through unit Bell Telecommunications Philippines (Belltel), has rolled out its mobile telecommunications network ahead of commercial operation targeted for next year, a report said today.

Belltel told regulator National Telecommunications Commission it has concluded agreements with contractors and suppliers for the supply of services, operation, and maintenance of its mobile infrastructure.

To date, the company has “expended considerable capital” for cell sites and radio access network equipment and software.

San Miguel has been looking to break the duopoly of PLDT and Globe Telecom, but its entry into the mobile business had been delayed because of other acquisition opportunities, its president Ramon Ang was quoted as saying in an earlier report.

San Miguel, over the past years, has aggressively moved away from its traditional food and beverage businesses and into heavy industries such as infrastructure, power, oil refinery, and telecommunications.

When it finally launches, San Miguel will be the fourth player in the Philippine mobile business, after PLDT, Globe, and new entrant ABS-CBN Mobile. Media conglomerate ABS-CBN forayed into mobile through a network sharing agreement with Globe in 2013.

San Miguel also owns Liberty Telecoms and Eastern Telecommunications, which provide internet and data services.

While Philippine mobile penetration is high, the conglomerate says it is confident it will be able to secure a foothold and improve the quality of services in the saturated market.

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