NOW Expands Network with Pre-5G

NOW Corporation is aggressively pursuing its push to become one of the country formidable Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) companies by using Pre-5G technologies to enhance and expand its ever-growing broadband Internet infrastructure in Metro Manila.

The PSE-listed TMT firm (PSE Ticker: NOW) said the deployment of its fixed wireless broadband infrastructure in Metro Manila shall utilize new technologies such as millimeter waves and TDD Full Duplex — both Pre-5G technologies — to deliver its broadband and cable TV connectivity to enterprises such as hotels, schools, hospitals, BPOs, commercial and residential areas. The Company has earmarked Php500 million for this undertaking with a projected subscriber base of a quarter of million by the end of five years.

“We have successfully tested two of ZTE’s latest wireless equipment with a capacity of 480 megabit per second (Mbps) and 3 gigabit per second (Gbps) links — connecting almost ten times faster than any backhaul. They have been installed to paying customers and we shall connect current and new hubs,” said Kristian Pura, head of enterprise marketing of NOW Corp.

In a recent interview with Mel Velarde, CEO of NOW Corp, he said that the Company’s adoption of an All Wireless Network Plan is motivated by two related global developments: (1) Google Fiber has drastically reduced the deployment of hard fiber optic for its network build-up in favor of fiber-like performance of aerial fixed wireless network similar to the Company, and (2) AT&T of the US is using high-frequency millimeter waves to successfully connect enterprise clients using fiber in the air that offers 1.5Gbps broadband connectivity.

“By utilizing gigabit links on fixed wireless set-up, the Company sees no need to deploy fiber optic in the early stages of its network build-up. The positive economic effect is that the financial requirement of the Company’s 5-year business plan has been adjusted from Php1.5 billion to Php500 million. The Company, however, is prepared to scale upwards its All Wireless Network Plan as when the need arises,” said Velarde.

The board has also given its nod to the management’s plan to amend its application for 15 million preferred shares offering with 30 million warrants to 5 million preferred shares and 30 million warrants, thus lowering the expected use proceeds from Php1.5 billion to Php500 million.

The decision to lower the planned shares offering was due to the fact that the company’s fixed wireless broadband rollout as spelled out under the All Wireless Network Plan would no longer require capital spending of as much as Php1.5 billion, said Mel Velarde, CEO of NOW Corp. The newly approved plan would instead require capex of just Php500 million for the broadband rollout. The Company’s network however is very scalable in preparation for a bigger play.

“In the early stages of our network build-up for the delivery of broadband technology, we don’t need to dig grounds for hard fiber deployment, which is very expensive. We will be utilizing tested wireless technology that delivers millimeter waves wireless gigabit links direct to customers’ rooftop,” said Velarde.

For its part, Security Bank Capital, has been appointed by the Company as a financial advisor with on-going initiatives in bringing institutional investors into the TMT company. For this reason, the Board gave management the flexibility to utilize various financial instruments for the Company to consider such as private placement of strategic partners in cooperation with foreign and local institutions.

The board has also approved for management to continue ongoing initiatives propelled by the Company’s underwriter and other investment houses for the underwriting of the issuance of Php500 million worth of preferred shares with warrants.

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