Converge ICT, Starlink satellite internet service unlikely this year

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2021 07:23 PM

MANILA - Converge ICT said it may not offer satellite broadband services this year as talks with Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink project remain far from being finalized.

"We are really not yet close with the agreement because I think they have priority doing some American area, Canada, that part," said Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy. 
 
Converge said it may take up another year and a half to finalize a deal. Despite this, the company is already preparing for satellite service by and looking at 6 to 7 stations to deliver the technology in the country.

"The platform and technology is coming soon. The test here is not yet 100 percent, because you need to put more satellites in the orbit," he explained.

Uy said Converge is currently focused on expanding its local fixed broadband business with a commercial rollout in Visayas and Mindanao set in the second half of 2019.

He said, Visayas and Mindanao currently account for almost 40 percent of the total market in the country.

For the year, Uy said, they're seeing to add at least 45,000 new take-ups.

"We feel the growth already in Cebu, in fact, we already have a soft-launching already in Cebu and Davao," he noted. 

"The take-up in the market is quite strong. Usually our rule of thumb, the take-up is almost 30 percent of the ports of rollout."

Uy added they are eyeing to roll out 150,000 new ports in Visayas and Mindanao which is 10 percent of their nationwide rollout.

Matthias Vukovich, chief financial office advisor of Converge ICT said they are looking to grow their subscriber base to about 1.6 to 1.7 million by the end of the year. 

"We are very much on track to reach that goal," Vukovich said.

In the first quarter of the year, the company already added 150,000 subscribers while nearly tripling its net income after tax to P1.55 billion.

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