Telstra - SMC drops Philippines joint venture plan

Telstra and San Miguel have abandoned talks over a wireless joint venture in the Philippines, but vowed to continue pursuing growth opportunities in Asia. Australia’s biggest phone and internet provider, which announced the talks in August, was looking to invest up to $US1 billion in the proposed wireless joint venture in the Philippines, which has one of the lowest mobile network speeds in the world. However Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said the companies were unable to reach commercial arrangements on a possible equity investment in the venture.

“While this opportunity is strategically attractive, and we have great respect for San Miguel Corporation and its President Mr (Ramon) Ang, it was obviously crucial that the commercial arrangements achieved the right risk-reward balance for all involved,” Mr Penn said. "Both SMC and Telstra worked hard to come up with an acceptable resolution to some issues. However, we agreed we can no longer continue with the talks. I believe this is best for all parties," Ramon S. Ang, SMC president and COO, said in an emailed statement on Monday. Telstra, in October 2015, announced it will seize the opportunity to capture the Philippine market with an investment of up to $1 billion. Despite the collapsed talks, SMC cleared that it will still proceed to switch on its telecommunications network as scheduled. "SMC’s entry in the telecom market will definitely be a game changer. When we launch, consumers will benefit from better, cheaper service,” Ang said. According to Ang, SMC is still open to other joint venture opportunities for its planned telco business. "We are not rushing. What’s important is that we give Filipinos a third and better choice that they have been deprived of for the longest time.” Telstra has also offered to continue technical work design and construction consultancy support, SMC noted.
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