British firms to invest in PH telecom, media

The UK government is committed to lead the development of 5G mobile technology, British Embassy Manila says

These British firms can provide telecommunications solutions that would help address the growing needs of the Philippine market, British Embassy Manila says.

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s telecommunications market – which is controlled by a virtual duopoly of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom, Incorporated – seems to be an oasis for some British firms, with 11 of them exploring projects and partnerships in the sector.

“There are 11 British companies that are now here to invest in the Philippines’ telecoms and media sector. These companies can provide telecommunication technologies and solutions that would help address the growing needs of the Philippine market, including IT (Information Technology)-enabled industries and service sectors,” United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) Director Iain Mansfield told reporters on the sidelines of a trade mission in Makati City on Thursday, October 15.

These firms are:
• Argosy Broadcast Asia
• Brandwatch
• British Telecoms Global Services
• Cambridge Broadband Network Limited
• Case Communications
• Electronic Media Services Limited
• Infobip
• Television Systems Limited
• Television Versioning & Translation (TVT) Limited
• The Bridge 8 Limited
• TSL Professional Products Limited

UK is the second-leading destination in the world for foreign direct investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) — only next to the US.

Its ICT sector contributed around 7% to the UK’s gross value added (GVA) in 2013.

Global spending on telecoms service, according to British Embassy Manila, is projected to reach £1.64 trillion ($2.54 trillion) by the end of 2015.

The UK government is committed to leading the development of 5G mobile technology, British Embassy Manila said in a document given to reporters.

“This will double the contribution to the UK economy of spectrum (the airwaves over which all wireless communications devices communicate) to £100 billion ($154.90 billion) by 2025,” the document read.

Seeking partnerships
Two of the British firms visiting the country hope to secure partnerships with Globe or PLDT.

For Kurian Manjakkal, vice-president of Cambridge Broadband Networks, “[the] Philippines is a good investment destination because of its geographical location and population.”

“Look at how it’s scattered in multiple islands. And look at your large population and the massive use of mobile phones. We can make the most of the situation because linking fiber cables across the country becomes a big challenge,” Manjakkal explained.

Cambridge Broadband Networks’ services include “mobile backhaul, small cell backhaul, enterprise access, and Internet Service Provider networks.”

“Particularly, we are looking at providing infrastructure for the telecom sector at a much lower rate – mainly linking offices, cell towers through microwave technology,” the Cambridge Broadband Networks said.

Manjakkal said his company hopes to secure partnerships with local telcos and system integrators. “[We’re] in talks with Globe Telecom, we’re pretty much in an advance level discussions.”

For managed network IT services provider BT Global Services, the company plans to secure deals with business process outsourcing firms and partner with local telcos.

“We’re already engaged in conversation with the local telcos for different services. We’re still exploring what are going to be interesting for them. At the same time, we also want to focus on certain set of products – conferencing solutions for audio and video Web, international toll fee, as well as contact center platform security,” BT Global Sales Manager David Medallo said.

According to Medallo, his firm has already presence here in the Philippines and has secured deals with corporations like “Unilever, DHL, and Proctor & Gamble.”

“BT is focused on growing the business in the Philippines, so that’s the reason they wanted a local salesperson to take care of the business here. We’re looking towards growing our existing base and attract multinationals coming to the Philippines,” Medallo said.

During the British firms’ visit here, UKTI’s Mansfield said they will meet with government and private sector officials to learn more about the Philippine business environment and economy.

“They will also engage with top executives from the ICT and broadcast industries, including prospective distributors and local business partners, government regulators, and communication project implementers,” Mansfield said. –