The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and NOW Telecom have signed a letter of intent to follow through on a previous discussion to expand 5G in the Philippines
The USTDA and NOW Telecom, an affiliate of media and technology holding firm NOW Corp, signed the letter of intent during the recent 5th Annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Japan.
The partnership between the US government and NOW Telecom will kick off with a trial run of 5G services in select areas in Metro Manila. The trial run will involve validating network performance, testing 5G use cases, and collecting data to inform larger-scale deployment.
In addition, NOW Telecom will be granted technical aid through the collaboration, such as data assessment and designs for a phased execution of the project.
The USTDA will also evaluate possible financing strategies and assess if there are donors, investors, or financial institutions that would be interested in funding the project. This involves quantifying potential donations with their corresponding terms and conditions as well as assessing any other fiscal requirements to execute the project effectively.
Both parties say their ultimate goal is to offer users better mobile connectivity, faster browsing speeds, and improved access to online content. They expect this will help create new opportunities for businesses across the country and facilitate digital transformation.
“Our goal is to deliver a clean and secure 5G network that will help achieve social and financial mobility, reduce inequality, improve health and education, and spur economic growth for the Filipino people. Our partnership with USTDA will help us achieve this mission,” said Mel Velasco Velarde, NOW Telecom Chairman and CEO.
NOW-USTDA part of US-Philippine alliance plan
Last November, the USTDA committed to providing NOW Telecom with technical assistance to facilitate the deployment of 5G technologies in the Philippines. This is part of US Vice-President Kamala Harris’ visit to the Philippines with the goal of boosting the US-Philippine alliance and strengthening bilateral ties.
“The United States, through USTDA, intends to partner with Philippine telecom operator NOW Telecom for the deployment of 5G technologies in the Philippines. These efforts will provide faster and more reliable digital services and increased broadband internet access for Filipinos countrywide,” the White House said in a statement.
In a report, GlobalData analyst Aasif Iqbal said that 5G subscriptions in the Philippines will increase at a brisk pace from 2021-2026, supported by 5G network expansion efforts by operators such as PLDT and Globe Telecom across the country.
GlobalData also mentioned that mobile data service revenue is projected to increase at a CAGR of 7.8% over the forecast period, driven by higher ARPU-yielding 5G subscriptions and the increasing consumption of mobile data services.