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Report: Philippines' PT&T seeks Chinese help to challenge telecom duopoly

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Report: Philippines' PT&T seeks Chinese help to challenge telecom duopoly

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. will be partnering with Chinese companies in an attempt to challenge PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, the Philippines' two dominant telecom operators, PT&T Chairman Salvador Zamora told Reuters in an interview.

The little known, debt-ridden telco, which mining mogul Zamora bought back in August for 264.9 million pesos, is reportedly in discussions with eight companies on forming partnerships and is expected to enter into an agreement with one before year-end. Meanwhile, two of China's top three telecom operators, China Mobile Communication Company Ltd and China Telecom Corp. Ltd., are keen on entering the Philippine market to challenge the current telco duopoly in the country, Rappler reported Nov. 21, citing the Philippines' Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

Chinese companies would have to partner with a local company to operate in the Philippines, as there is a 40% foreign ownership cap on local telcos, a law that has hindered multinational companies from taking interests in the market. The announcement comes shortly after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered China the chance to launch a third telecom provider in the country.

PT&T has previously expressed its intention to "regain its status as a major telecommunications force" in the country within three years, as well as to expand its fixed broadband business throughout the nation, according to an Oct. 13 filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

As of Nov. 21, US$1 was equivalent to 50.58 Philippine pesos.