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ABS-CBN, Globe tie up in media convergence tack

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MANILA - (UDPATE 2, 7:20 p.m.) ABS-CBN Corp today announced it has struck a partnership with Globe Telecom Inc, allowing the Lopez-owned broadcast company to distribute its media content using the Ayala-led telco's mobile network.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ABS-CBN said its unit, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc, has signed a network sharing agreement with Globe. Under their agreement, Globe will provide the mobile platform through which ABS-CBN can deliver its media content. Both parties may also share assets such as servers, towers and switches.

"This groundbreaking partnership, which converges two separate different industries, enables ABS-CBN - the country's largest media and entertainment conglomerate - to deliver ABS-CBN content and offer traditional telecom services and mobile devices," the broadcast firm said.

“We have come to realize that the mobile Internet is going to become one of the most important platforms for delivering content to our audiences.  We believe that in the same way television revolutionized the mass market’s ability to receive information and entertainment, the wireless Internet will be the next most important medium for our audience. Very soon, our Kapamilyas will enjoy special shows, receive our news, and interact with our stars from anywhere and anytime they want, through their tablets and cellphones,” ABS-CBN Convergence president and managing director Carlo Katigbak said.

Ernest Cu, Globe president and chief executive, said the partnership will create a new market for mobile users.

"We are happy that Globe is once again at the forefront of a pioneering effort.  We entered this partnership to provide Filipinos with more reasons to enjoy their mobile phones. The exclusive content that ABS-CBN will provide ushers in a new form of entertainment for mobile users in the Philippines. We are now seeing the gains of our network modernization and IT transformation initiatives, having new capabilities to enter into these businesses to showcase our strength and leadership,” Cu said.

Earlier, Cu said the telco is exploring the possibility of offering more  content to remain "relevant" to its subscribers.

Third telco player

"The way to think about it is just like Smart and Globe except its ABS-CBN Mobile. It would be a new brand in the market. In essence it's a third player," ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III told reporters during a briefing today.

Lopez said ABS-CBN will buy capacity from Globe for its mobile services under a five-year contract.

"We are doing testing now around the country on the Globe network. We are really gonna focus on the data components not the voice components," Lopez added.

Lopez said ABS-CBN will invest P2-3 billion to roll out its mobile services over the next three years.

"It's a natural evolution for us. We tested it in the IWant TV and its what we think is the consumer wants. Its very clear that its going to be the future," Lopez said. 

He said the network will launch ABS-CBN Mobile SIM so subscribers can access content for free.

The network sharing agreement comes in the wake of Globe's acquisition of the debts of Lopez-owned Bayan Telecommunications Inc and those of its unit Radio Communications of the Philippines Inc (RCPI) from their creditors.

Globe had secured National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approval for the joint use of Bayan's frequencies in the 1750-1760 megahertz/1845-1855 megahertz range.

The joint use agreement will allow Globe to address increasing demand for voice, SMS and mobile data services, and will allow Bayan to offer its mobile telecommunications services.

Besides frequency, Bayan has a nationwide network composed of satellite, terrestrial and land/submarine-based cable facilities.

InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, a member of the PLDT group.

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