Bayantel given more time to secure court approval of joint use of frequencies

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has given Bayan Telecommunications Inc a second chance to seek court approval of the joint use of frequencies with Globe Telecom.

In a letter to the Lopez-owned telco, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the agency “finds merit in your request and accordingly grants Bayantel an additional period of 30 days from January 6, 2013 or until Febuary 5, 2013 within which to secure confirmation by the rehabilitation court of the joint use of the frequencies.”

In September 28, 2012, the NTC issued a provisional approval for the joint use of the 1750-1760/1845-1855 megahertz band on condition that Bayantel secure sthe confirmation by the rehabilitation court within 60 days.

In a letter to NTC, Bayantel lawyer Ariel Tubayan said the company failed to secure confirmation from the rehabilitation court because of the “unavailability of the presiding judge.”

He said the hearing of Bayantel’s manifestation and motion seeking the rehabilitation court’s confirmation was reset to January 23, 2013 from December 13, 2012.

Ayala-led Globe had said the joint use agreement with Bayantel could revive the latter’s foray into the mobile phone business.

Globe said the joint use agreement also will allow it to address increasing demand for voice, SMS and mobile data services.

Globe assumed control of Bayantel after completing a tender offer for the latter’s debt.

About 98.26 percent of the total remaining principal amount of Bayantel’s loans had been tendered as of December 21, the deadline for the settlement. All of the remaining loans of RCPI likewise were tendered.

According to its rehabilitation plan, Bayantel still owes its creditors some $184.5 million out of the original $200 million in unsecured notes.

Bayantel has been under court-supervised rehabilitation since 2003, after it incurred liabilities worth $325 million.

Among its foreign creditors are Avenue Asia Investments LP, Avenue Asia International Ltd, Avenue Asia Special Situations Fund II LP, Avenue Asia Capital Partners LP, and Van Eck Global Opportunity Masterfund Ltd.

Bayantel’s local creditors include Development Bank of the Philippines, the United Coconut Planters Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines.

As of September, Bayantel had settled P908.28 million worth of debts. Since 2004, the telco had paid creditors a total of P8.19 billion.

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