Mindanao approves TierOne $60m telecoms investment

Natalie Bannerman
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TierOne Communications announce the approval of their $60 million telecommunications investment bringing increased connectivity to the ARMM area

TierOne Communications is to get $60 million worth of investment from an autonomous regional government in the Philippines.

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) approved the investment of 3 billion pesos, the equivalent of $60 million, at a board of governors meeting.

TierOne, which is 70% Philippine and 30% Australian-owned, has a franchise to operate as a telecommunications service provider from the regional legislative assembly of the ARMM.

“In today’s interconnected world with the rise of social media, web-based businesses and a global supply chain using the internet, such investment in telecommunications by TierOne in the ARMM will make the region more integrated and plugged into the rest of the country, while allowing the region to access and compete in the burgeoning Asean economy, as well as, the global market,” said Ishak Mastura, chairman of the regional board of investors of the ARMM, and its managing head.

The company plans to build a network in the ARMM area. An original plan to start in Marawi City has been delayed because of social disruption. Instead, TierOne will build facilities for the ARMM government compound in Cotabato City to serve government agencies.

The company confirmed that it would still push to roll out the network in Marawi City and build its infrastructure, once the government starts its rehabilitation and reconstruction programme.

The company intends to use the investment to cover the entire ARMM area under the new investment, and provisions have been made for expansion and the infusion of additional capital if needed.

“In previous years, we were not able to get spectrum from the Regional Telecommunications Commission since the National Telecommunications Commission had not allocated the same for ARMM,” said Jonathon Bentley Stevens, president of TierOne.

“So we did not start commercial operations in the region even though we had already put up transmission towers. However, we believe that with the oft-expressed desire of [Philippines] president Rodrigo Duterte to open up the telecommunications sector in the Philippines, this is the right time to restart the project.”

The project will itself will provide 2G, 3G and 4G to homes and enterprises, as well as WiFi for public or common areas. It will also provide coverage for voice over IP services, using fibre and satellites with international gateway facilities.