Telenor interested in mobile JV with SMC

Philippines conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) may have found a new foreign partner to help it fulfil its ambitions of entering the local telecom market - Norway-based Telenor.

Telenor has approached SMC expressing an interest in teaming up for the project, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing SMC president Ramon Ang

But according to Ang, the company is still considering the offer and is leaving open the possibility of entering the telecom market on its own.

Norway-based Telenor has been aggressively expanding its Asian footprint, and now has operations in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Telenor's Asian operations contributed the majority (51%) of its service revenues in Q1.

SMC had initially planned to team up with Australian operator Telstra on the project, but negotiations fell through, leaving SMC seeking a new partner. 

Telenor was one of the companies to have expressed an interest in the joint venture before SMC entered formal discussions with Telstra.

SMC and its various subsidiaries hold a monopoly on the 700-MHz band - despite the repeated objections  of existing operators Globe and PLDT - as well as spectrum holdings in the 800-MHz, 1.8-GHz and 2.3-GHz bands and 1,800 base stations in key cities. The company plans to use these assets to offer fast mobile broadband to Filipino consumers.

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