PLDT international arm to expand in 5 markets

The international sales and marketing arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co plans to expand its mobile voice and data services over the next 12-18 months in at least five markets that have huge bases of overseas Filipino workers.

Alex Caeg, president and chief executive of PLDT Global Corp told reporters that the company is looking to offer Mobile Virtual Network Operation (MVNO) in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Japan and Africa.

“We are in discussion with prospective partners. One thing for sure, we are conducting on the ground market research. When you go to the new markets, you have to understand many things. We don’t just only understand overseas Filipino needs, wants and behavior. You should have to understand the local culture, ” Caeg said.

“In Canada, we are in discussion with the prospective partners and we also have intention to come back in Europe, particularly in Italy. We expect it to be happening in the next 12-18 months, he said.

Under MVNO, PLDT Global Corp would provide mobile wireless and data services to end-users through commercial accords with licensed mobile network operators. These value-added services include Smart Load, Pasa Load, Smart Padala, among others.

The OFWs in Hong Kong spend an average of HK$190 per month for mobile services, while those in Singapore, SG$25, Caeg said.

He said PLDT Global also plans to expand into content like mobile commerce services.

Last month, PLDT Global launched its MVNO service in Macau.

In 2011, the company entered a deal with Malaysia’s Celcom Axiata Bhd to establish a Malaysia-based MVNO. Under the agreement, Celcom and PLDT Global will hold stakes of 49 and 51 percent, respectively, in PLDT Malaysia Sdn Bhd. The latter will offer mobile prepaid services under the Smart Pinoy brand.

PLDT Global offers MVNO services in Hong Kong, Singapore, Guam and Taiwan, primarily for OFWs. It has a total of 250,000 subscribers.

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