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ICS-Verint Venture To Develop National Cybersecurity Platform For Philippines

ICT - Philippines
January 2019

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the Philippines has awarded a contract for the development of a national cybersecurity platform called Cybersecurity Management System for intelligence sharing, monitoring threats and defending the country’s cyber 'infostructure' from cyberattacks. The platform aims to strengthen the resilience of the country, as part of the vision laid out in the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 of having a “trusted and resilient infostructure.”

The system will be developed by a joint venture between Philippine company, Integrated Computer Systems, Inc., and Israel’s Verint System Limited, a provider of surveillance tools to companies and the Israeli government. The joint venture won the contract last year after submitting a PHP 508 million (USD 9.7 million) bid. The collaboration between the two companies was among those signed by President Rodrigo Duterte during his trip to Israel in September 2018. The Philippines had been reinforcing its partnership with Israel regarding its military capability buildup, supplying the country with air surveillance radars, surface to surface missiles, and force protection equipment.

The project runs with a license period of three years. The project will be delivered to DICT’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center in ten months which will be responsible on setting up parameters and manning the monitoring using also the AI tools to be supplied by ICS-Verint.

The centralized monitoring platform would enhance the country’s ability to act on threats, before, during, and after cyber attacks. It would also monitor cyberthreats in the dark web in support of law enforcement authorities, defense, and drug enforcement agencies functions as needed. The project's first phase would cater to 10 government agencies that were identified as priorities: DICT, the Office of the President, the Department of Finance, the Department of Energy, Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council, the Department of Budget and Management, the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Department of National Defense.

(Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer; Philippine News Agency; Business World )

Udenna-China Telecom Declared Third Telco Player In The Philippines

ICT - Philippines
November 2018

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in the Philippines have officially proclaimed the consortium of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) as the third telecommunications provider in the country. The consortium is composed of Udenna Corporation and Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation, both owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, and China’s third largest mobile service provider, China Telecom.

The decision came after the NTC had denied the appeal for reconsideration of Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T) and Sear Telecommunications Consortium, the two other groups that vied for the project. The former was disqualified due to incomplete documents and the latter failed to submit a PHP 700 million (USD 13.3 million) participation security bond.    

The selection committee still carried on the computerized bidding process with Mislatel scoring 456.80 points out of 500 based on the criteria of Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS). The group assures that 37.03% of the population will be covered on an average internet speed of 27 Mbps through PHP 150 billion (USD 2.9 billion) investment for the first year of operation, while it will boost its capital expenditure to PHP 258 billion (USD 4.9 billion) covering 84.01% of the population on 55 Mbps from the second to the fifth year of operations. Failure to deliver its commitment would cost the company a penalty of PHP 14 billion (USD 0.3 billion) as its performance security bond will be forfeited.

Meanwhile, the group is open for commercial partnership with the country’s two telecom giants, PLDT and Globe, as well as other small players. In terms of investments, Udenna and Chelsea Corporations will hold 35% and 25% ownership respectively, while China Telecom is restricted to a maximum of 40% share based on the country’s equity rule.

(Sources: Yugatech; Manila Times; Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippines)

DICT Proposes PHP 2 Billion Budget For National Broadband Program

ICT - Philippines
October 2018

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the Philippines had formally proposed a budget of PHP 2 billion (USD 37 million) to the Congress for the roll-out of the National Broadband Program (NBP) next year. The fund will be utilized in putting up the equipment to connect the power transmission backbone to the “middle mile” providers in provinces, particularly ISPs whose customers are not served by the country’s two biggest telecommunication providers.

The NBP, a flagship project of the DICT, was brought up during Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2016 when the executive directed the department to formulate and oversee the implementation of a National Broadband Plan to improve internet speed through deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies. The plan aims to foster universal access especially in the far-flung communities throughout the country.

In August 2018, DICT forged a partnership with the National Electrification Authority (NEA) and Philippine Rural Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA) to tap Electrical Cooperatives (ECs) as middle mile providers. Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) would be the first EC to implement the deal, providing its 190,000 members faster and accessible internet service.

In 2017, DICT, together with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) signed an agreement with Facebook for the latter to construct and operate a submarine cable system passing through Baler, Aurora Province (western part) to Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union Province (eastern part) of Luzon connecting the region to Asia’s and the United States’ internet hubs. The construction of cable landing stations would then be out for public bidding supervised by BCDA. The project, which has commenced this year, is called the Strategic Engagement and Collaboration to Undertake a Reliable and Efficient Government Internet (SecureGov Net). The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) – the 240 km. multi-duct cable conduit path that will connect both areas - will be developed by BCDA and DICT will operate it for a period of 25 years. In return for using the LBI, Facebook will provide connectivity of 2 terabits per second (2tbps), equivalent to the combined capacity of the country’s two telco giants.

Also, DICT secured a tripartite agreement with the power generation and transmission network operator, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and state-owned National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), allowing the department to lease NGCP and TransCo’s dark fiber (spare fiber optic cables) sans cost. This will be for use of a third telco party. The transmission cable spans 6,514 kilometers running from Luzon to Mindanao. The agreement would significantly reduce the government’s infrastructure spending from PHP 77 billion (USD 1.3 billion) to PHP 20 to 30 billion (USD 0.4 to 0.6 million).

(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Business World)

Philippines Plans To Rollout National Biometric ID System

ICT - Philippines
September 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law the Philippine System Identification Act (PhilSys Act) which mandates the government to create a single identification card for all citizens. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is the agency in-charge of the massive USD 562 million project.

Under the law, PSA, which will act as the PhilSys Registry, will require the biometrics of applicants, along with response to 10 basic identity questions, three of which may be optional. For newborns, PhilSys registration will be upon birth sans the biometrics. The first biometrics for child applicants will be captured at age five and they will be updated when he/she reaches the legal age of 18. Amidst concerns of breach of privacy and data leakage, the PhilSys Act ensures that biometrics and personal information will be kept in a resilient data system subject to the country’s data privacy law.

PSA is on-track to bidding out the contract and is finalizing the Terms of Reference (TOR) in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC). The agency has already received proposals from private-sector firms, one of them is the consortium of Ayala and Aboitiz, in partnership with Unisys Philippines, which will disburse PHP 15 billion (USD 270 million) in its proposal to design and develop said infrastructure.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) will be ready by the first half of October 2018. The pilot launch in December 2018 will enroll one million households who are beneficiaries of the state cash handouts. The entire population is expected to be registered in two to five years. Upon full implementation, several government-issued IDs will be invalidated. For initial registration, the PSA will enroll the first one million, who are beneficiaries of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT). 

The new ID system will give not just an easy access to government’s social benefits but also in securing jobs and opening bank accounts. It is believed that there are millions of undocumented Filipinos who do not even have the basic requirements like birth-certificate required to obtain any of the thirty (30) types of ID accepted as proof of identity, making it a barrier for work opportunities. According to the central bank, about half of the population did not have access to banking services last year – one fifth not having the required documents, such as two nationally accepted IDs.

(Sources: Philippines News Agency; Nikkei Asian Review; Business Mirror; ABS-CBN News)

Infra Firm Submits Unsolicited Proposal To Build Shared Cell Towers In The Philippines

ICT - Philippines
August 2018

ISOC Infrastructures, Inc., the infrastructure arm of one of the country’s biggest construction companies, Megawide Construction Corporation, has submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government to build 25,000 cell towers in seven years. It will allocate PHP 100 billion wherein PHP 20 billion will be invested over the first three years. This is the company’s response to the government’s call for affordable and improved telecommunication channels.

Earlier this year, the government, through the Department of Information and Communications (DICT), decided to implement a common-tower policy wherein network operators will not be allowed to build cell towers but lease from a tower company. This will allow telecom firms to focus on ensuring and enhancing quality as well as expand their services to rural areas where they have weak coverage. Additionally, the cost of building cell towers is being passed on to subscribers by telecom firms. DICT ensured that the common-tower policy will help lower the cost of services. For the telcos, the common-tower policy will help save up on capital expenditures, address the issue on getting permits, and increase their coverage in the country.

ISOC has partnered with Malaysian firm, OCK Berhad as technical partner for the common-tower project. OCK Berhad, is the largest telco engineering service provider in Malaysia with broad experience in areas of cooperation across Southeast Asia and China.

DICT will study the unsolicited proposal by ISOC whether it will be placed under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme or Public-Private Partnership (PPP) wherein ownership of the towers will remain in the hands of the company.  

There are around 20,000 towers serving 100 million people in the Philippines, representing one of the lowest tower densities in the world. It is estimated that around 50,000 more towers have to be built to meet current service requirements. 

(Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer; Manila Standard)

Third Telco In Philippines To Be Selected Based On Service Level Instead Of Bid Amount

ICT - Philippines
July 2018

The government oversight committee supervised by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Eliseo Rio has taken a decision on the terms of reference (ToR) to be used in selecting the country’s major telecommunications provider. The other members of the committee include the Department of Finance (DOF), Office of the Executive Secretary, and the National Security Adviser.

The DICT-proposed Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS) ToR was preferred over Auction as Mode in selecting the new major player by both the potential bidders and telco stakeholders according to a survey done during a public consultation on 6 July 2018 in Quezon City. 

The consultation/market study was conducted to hear the stakeholders’ feedback and to settle the prolonged discussion among the members of the Oversight Committee, created through Administrative Order No. 11 S. 2018 (Creation of an Oversight Committee for the Entry of a New Major Player in the Public Telecommunications Market) of which of the two draft ToRs will be utilized during the selection procedure.

The slected HCLoS formula takes into account National Population Coverage, Minimum Average Broadband Speed, and Annual Capital and Operational Expenditures in giving points for the selection process. Under the HCLoS rules, the standards were set at 30% in terms of national population coverage, 5 Megabits per second for internet speed and PHP 40 billion (USD 750 million) in capital and operational expenditure per year over a five-year commitment period.

The auction scheme was favored by the DOF. DICT noted that the auction scheme will only place a heavy burden on the bidder’s financial capability. 

The ToR is expected to be finalized as early as first week of August. The third telco provider is expected to be up and running by 2019. 

Currently, the telecom market in the Philippines is controlled by PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom. Previously, whenever frequencies have been awarded to new entrants, they have been acquired by one of the two or even jointly by both. In November 2017, President Duterte expressed a wish to see a new telecommunications company enter into the market, in order to stimulate competition and improve connectivity in the country. 

(source: Philippine Daily Inquirer; DICT Philippines)

DICT Signs Agreement For Use Of Dark Fiber

ICT - Philippines
June 2018

The Department of Information and Communications and Technology (DICT)  of the Philippines has signed a tripartite agreement securing a partnership with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo). DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., NGCP Chairman and CEO Anthony L. Almeda, and TransCo President and CEO Melvin A. Matibag led the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on 8 June 2018. 

The agreement will boost the implementation of the National Broadband Project (NBP) aimed at faster and more affordable internet connectivity in the Philippines. Under the agreement, the NGCP’s certain spare Fiber Optic Cores (FOCs), vacant lots, tower space and related facilities will be given indefeasible right of use and access to DICT. The dark fiber network is 6,154 kilometers, long, from Luzon to Mindanao.

The transmission facilities can act as the network backbone interconnected with the to-be constructed Luzon Bypass Infrastructure. The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure provides a terrestrial bypass route for international submarine cable owners seeking diversity from the Luzon Strait. Bases Conversion and Development Authority  will build the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, consisting of two cable landing stations connected by a 250-km long cable network corridor. Savings worth approximately USD 2.6 billion worth of time, manpower, and resources are expected for the government from the completion of these two projects. 

DICT released the National Broadband Plan for the Philippines in 2017 to accelerate the deployment of fiber optics cables and wireless technologies to improve Internet speed. The vision is to have Open, Pervasive, Inclusive, Affordable and Trusted Internet Access. 

(Sources: DICT, GMA News Online)

BSP Urges Philippine Banks To Improve Cyber Defense

ICT - Philippines
May 2018

With more than US$ 600 billion annual global loss to cybercrimes, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) urges the Philippine banks to strengthen their cyberdefenses. Billions of personal records are exposed and, government and private institutions are prone to operational disruptions through advanced forms of cyberthreats and risks that continuously evolved. The emergence of technologies such as social media, artificial intelligence, cloud-computing and distributed ledger technologies also contribute to the vulnerability for the attacks.

In line with these threats, the BSP advised banks to toughen its defence from ground up, patch weaknesses and monitor close environment. BSP also stated that these cyber-attackers are covert, organized and well-funded that is why they should not be complacent. The BSP has stressed the need to practice information sharing on cyber security threats as information sharing allows BSP-supervised financial inclusion to enhance the threat intelligence, enables the quick identification, prevention and response to emerging and persistent threats. The central bank has also prioritized building-up of the financial sector’s cyber resilience through regulatory and supervisory programs and reforms to cope with the fast evolving cyber-threat landscape.

(Sources: The Philippine Star; The Manila Times)

60% of Philippine Businesses Inadequate In Cybersecurity Infrastructure

ICT - Philippines
April 2018

More than half of Philippine enterprises are inadequate when it comes to cybersecurity infrastructure which fit international standards according to ePLDT Inc, the digital business solutions arm of local telecommunications company PLDT. Sixty percent of Philippine enterprises are reported to be not adequately equipped with cybersecurity infrastructures fit for the standards that today’s digital ecosystem demands.

Citing data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), ePLDT said the Philippines is the tenth most attacked country globally. The incidents of cyber threats have increased over the years and have affected both public and private organizations.

In line with this, the government has since adopted the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022. The primary goals of this Plan are as follows: (1) assuring the continuous operation of the nation’s critical infostructures, public and military networks (2) implementing cyber resiliency measures to enhance ability to respond to threats before, during and after attacks, (3) effective coordination with law enforcement agencies and (4) a cybersecurity educated society.

(Sources: GMA News Online; Department of Information and Communications Technology)

Converge ICT Partners With Coriant For Its Ethernet Services

ICT - Philippines
March 2018

Coriant, a global supplier of open, disruptive, and hyperscale networking solutions for service providers and web-scale Internet operators, announced that Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. (Converge), a complete ICT solutions provider in the Philippines, has selected the Coriant 7090 Packet Transport Platform and Corian Transcned Chorus network management to expand delivery of carrier-grade metro Ethernet services across the Philippines. The nationwide deployment will span over 450 sites and help Converge better serve the broadband, wholesale, and cloud connectivity needs of its small, medium, and large enterprise customers.

Configured as an aggregation and demarcation device, the Coriant 7090 solution will enable Converge to quickly and cost-efficiently deploy MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) certified services, including 10GbE point-to-point (E-Line), any-to-any (E-LAN), hub and spoke (E-Access), and rooted-multipoint (E-Tree) services.

(Source: Coriant)

PayMaya Inks QR Deal With Mercury Drug

ICT - Philippines
February 2018

Philippines' biggest pharmacy chain, Mercury Drug, has inked a deal with PLDT Inc.’s digital wallet PayMaya to adopt its quick response (QR) payment system technology. Using the PayMaya QR system will increase payment processing efficiency of Mercury stores, as it will cut down the line for payment and eliminate the need to process loose change. Mercury Drug is the first pharmacy chain in the country to accept payment via the PayMaya QR which is expected to help accelerate the penetration of cashless payments in the country.

PayMaya has been partnering with some of the biggest retail players in the Philippines to adopt its QR systems. It has been aggressively rolling out its QR payment platform, tapping in recent months a string of retail establishments, fast food companies and even small sari-sari (neighbourhood sundry) stores.

(Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Times)

Digital Remittance Companies Eye Philippines For Expansion

ICT - Philippines
January 2018

Philippine remittance companies Remitly and WorldRemit are eyeing to expand their digital remittance operation in the Philippines as they consider it a mature market for this kind of service. According to Remitly, the Philippines is a good place to test new products as the country is receptive to innovations.

Remitly has already increased its technology team that can support the company's expansion goals. The company has also launched products specifically for Filipino seafarers to be able to send money without leaving their ships which in turn allows them to save 8% remittance cost. Remittances of overseas Filipino workers was valued at USD 2.2 billion at the start of 2017. 

WorldRemit, on the other hand, has declared the Philippines as its largest fund receiving country. It is looking to raise its capital funding in addition to setting up a regional center in the country and expanding its mobile-first digital service into new markets.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines comes third globally in the largest fund receiving countries after China and India.

(Source: BusinessWorld Online)

 

 

MOBI724 To Launch Hosted Platform With WEEPAY In The Philippines

ICT - Philippines
December 2017

MOBI724 Global Solutions Inc., a Canadian FinTech leader offering all-in-one fully integrated EMV payment, card-linked offers, digital marketing and business intelligence solutions, has announced that its subsidiary MOBI724 Asia Inc., has obtained final certification approval from BancNet to launch MOBI724’s transaction switch host (“Hosted Platform”) with WeePay Payment Processing Corporation (“WEEPAY”) in the Philippines for local debit EMV. WEEPAY, is a duly registered Merchant Service Provider of BancNet and has become one of the first Merchant Service Providers to successfully complete BancNet’s EMV certification in the Philippines. BancNet is a Philippine-based interbank network connecting the ATM networks of local and offshore banks, and the largest interbank network in the Philippines in terms of the number of member banks and annual transactions. BancNet serves more than 41 million ATM cardholders of its 114 members financial institutions and affiliates with over 12,000 ATMs and more than 5,000 POS terminals.

Once the integration has been completed, WEEPAY’s transition to MOBI724’s Hosted Platform will become effective immediately such that all WEEPAY customers will be processed via MOBI724’s Hosted Platform. The agreement with WEEPAY is for an initial 3-year term with an automatic 2-year extension. Once integrated, MOBI724’s Hosted Platform will enable WEEPAY to be one of the first POS vendors to have a complete EMV solution, thereby conforming itself to the standards required by the Central Bank of the Philippines. 

As the transition to EMV is a top priority for banks and merchants alike in the Philippines, the collaboration between WEEPAY and MOBI724 represents an interesting opportunity for financial institutions in the Philippines as it allows them to offer their merchant customers a complete platform which is fully compliant with acquirers’ standards in the Philippines.

(Source: MOB1724)

Facebook Teams Up With PH Government For Ultra High-Speed Broadband

ICT - Philippines
November 2017

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), launched on Wednesday, November 15, the Strategic Engagement and Collaboration to Undertake a Reliable and Efficient Government Internet (SECURE GovNet) project.

In partnership with Facebook, the project SECURE GovNet aims to build the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, an ultra high-speed information highway that will greatly improve the speed, affordability, and accessibility of broadband internet across the archipelago. The BCDA will build the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, consisting of two cable landing stations connected by a 250-km long cable network corridor, which will leverage the geographical advantage of the Philippines by providing a terrestrial bypass route for international submarine cable owners seeking diversity from the Luzon Strait.

As the first party to utilize the infrastructure, Facebook will construct and operate a submarine cable system that will land in the cable stations on the East and West Coasts of Luzon. This 2-million Mbps (or 2-terabyte per second) capacity is almost equal to the current combined capacity of Globe and Smart-PLDT, making the government virtually a third player in the telecommunications industry.

SECURE GovNet is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to develop a national broadband plan, which will enable the government to significantly reduce internet cost and improve internet speed. The said project will also facilitate the implementation of the government’s connectivity programs, such as the Free Public Internet Access, the National Government Portal, and other information and communications technology projects of government line agencies and local government units.

(Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Banbros Brings In Humanoid Robots From China

ICT - Philippines
October 2017

Local consumer electronics distributor Banbros has introduced robot products from China-based UBTech in anticipation of the strong demand for more technology-centric devices among Filipino families. According to Banbros, a number of Filipinos, especially millennials, are getting exposed to technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence. Since the country’s population is dominated by young people, UBTech robots will have a big captive market.

UBTech’s main product is the Alpha 1 Pro consumer robot, which is a programmable humanoid robot that can be used for education and entertainment. Its 3D programming visual programming software and PRP (pose, record, play) function are controlled in one app. The Alpha 1 Pro is a versatile machine because it has the capability to mimic all human movements such as pushups, or even martial arts moves. With its servo technology, the Alpha 1 Pro can rotate at a given speed, enabling it to perform precise movements. An owner can even customize the movements of the Alpha 1 through the software on Windows and Mac operating systems or add a music or a voice clip, then transfer the sequence on the robot via a USB and launch it via the mobile app with ease.

Robotics is one of the few emerging science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based education platforms growing in the Philippines. Because of a rising trend in educating children and preparing them in real-world applications, making them smarter and relevant in the ever-changing information technology industry, schools—and even parents—are now acquiring tools on how they can teach robotics to their children, most especially in software and hardware programming at home or in school.

(Sources: Newsbytes Philippines; BusinessMirror)

Philippines's Gcash Partners With Hong Kong's Fintech Startup EMQ For Cash Remittance

ICT - Philippines
September 2017

EMQ, a Hong Kong based financial technology firm and Globe Telecom's mobile commerce subsidiary G-Xchange Inc., have announced a partnership that would further expand EMQ’s reach in the Philippines through GCash, offering overseas workers greater flexibility and convenience. With the partnership, EMQ users can now send money to users with GCash accounts, where the recipients can pay bills and make online purchases, buy load or cash out at over 7,000 GCash payment outlets across the Philippines.

EMQ currently has footprint in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, with plans underway to expand across other key business markets first in Asia and then globally, covering North America, Europe and the Middle East. GCash international partners has over 1,000,000 outlets worldwide with over 7,000+ GCash Partner Outlets across the Philippines.

(Source: EMQ)

NOW Corporation Pursuing Pre-5G Broadband Connection For Metro Manila

ICT - Philippines
August 2017

NOW Corporation is aggressively pursuing its push to become one of the country's 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 said the deployment of its fixed wireless broadband infrastructure in Metro Manila will 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. NOW Corporation has earmarked PHP 500 million for this undertaking with a projected subscriber base of a quarter of million by the end of five years.

The company announced that it has successfully tested two of ZTE's latest wireless equipment with a capacity of 480 megabits per second (Mbps) and 3 gigabits per second (Gbps) links — connecting almost ten times faster than any backhaul. They have been installed to paying customers and will connect current and new hubs.

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 1.5 Gbps broadband connectivity.

(Source: NOW Corporation)

Japanese Graphic Tablet Maker Aims Sales Growth In The Philippines

ICT - Philippines
July 2017

Japanese graphic and pen tablet provider Wacom is looking to increase its sales in the Philippines by 30% in 2017. The company aims to ride the growth of creative industries in the country, such as gaming and animation. The Philippines also recently applied the K-to-12 educational structure in its school system and the curriculum includes animation subjects. In addition, Wacom to achieve 90% global shares in the pen tablet market this year. It has already achieved an 85% market share from the said product from April of 2016 to March 2017.

(Sources: The Philippine Star, Manila Times)

Demand For Tech Peripherals Booming In Philippines

ICT - Philippines
June 2017

The Philippines continues to attract providers of tech devices paraphernalia, indicating that the local market needs these types of stuff for their mobile and digital lifestyle. The most popular products in demand within this segment include chargers, power banks, cables, and headphones.

Local company Digital Walker now carries products from Hong Kong-based Xpower. These include power banks to enable users to enjoy longer connectivity. With three built-in cables, this gives the user flexibility by catering to different gadgets which makes it handy power bank.

Xpower also provides the market need for a more durable cable by introducing the Xpower 3-in-1 aluminum alloy cable. It is made of high grade materials such as pure copper cable and a non-tearable aluminum shield. Digital Walker sees the Philippines as a very lucrative market that is looking for such devices, thus the demand for these products are expected to increase.

(Sources: Newsbytes.ph, Manila Bulletin)

Converge ICT To Spend PHP 1.5 Billion For Expansion

ICT - Philippines
May 2017

Technology provider Converge ICT Solutions, Inc is ramping up its investment for the rollout of additional fiber optic infrastructure in Luzon as it seeks to triple its customer base and grow its profits by end 2017, with the firm bullish on prospects of the broadband business in the country.

At present, the company has laid out more than 6,000 kilometers of fiber optic reach in the Luzon area and is still working on expanding its network. It is already servicing clients in the North of Luzon, particularly Baguio and down South in Batangas.

Converge ICT currently has over 100,000 customers for its consumer business and it provides Internet connection to about 2,800 corporate clients, including business process outsourcing firms and companies in the financial, education, and hospitality sectors. The company aims to address the perennial problem of Filipinos in dealing with slow Internet connection through a “best-of-breed” pure fiber-optic connectivity to power the Internet usage of home, micro, small-, medium- and large-scale enterprise users.

(Sources: BusinessWorld, Business Mirror)

Ayala Taps Zalora E-Platform

ICT - Philippines
April 2017

Ayala Corp, the country’s oldest conglomerate, is hoping to tap the huge potential of the logistics platform of Zalora Philippines to take advantage of the growing e-commerce in the country. In February, the Ayala Group acquired a 49% stake in the online fashion retailer, marking its foray into the e-commerce space.

For the Ayala Group, the investment represents an entry into not just one but two industries they view as game-changers in the country: e-commerce and, potentially, logistics. Other conglomerates are already investing in the logistics and e-commerce sector as a strategy for growth. Logistics is considered less regulated compared to other sectors in the country.

Zalora Philippines was launched in 2012 as part of Zalora Group, a company owned by Global Fashion Group, which has Germany's Rocket Internet as a principal investor.

(Sources: The Philippine Star, Nikkei Asian Review)

Philippines’ I-Pay Partners With Malaysia’s MyEG

ICT - Philippines
March 2017

Malaysian IT service management company My EG Services Bhd (MyEG) is making its first overseas foray by way of forming a partnership with Philippine-based I-Pay Ventures Commerce Ventures Inc to develop and implement electronic government (e-government) service projects in the Philippines.

Through the partnership, MyEG will be able to provide its technologies that can upgrade internet infrastructure and government services in the Philippines. MyEG aims to provides G2C user experience using its model that offers cost savings and increased efficiency to all stakeholders.

The partnership is also in line with I-Pay’s strategy to facilitate Government and enterprises in delivering its services that will include internet, automations, big data, and electronic payments.

(Sources: Philippine Star, SunStar)

Alibaba Invests In Philippines

ICT - Philippines
February 2017

Ant Financial Services Group, the financial technology company controlled by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, is making a strategic investment to get a 45% in Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), a unit of Globe Telecom Inc., to help accelerate financial inclusion in the Philippines. Ant  Financial and Ayala Corp have signed definitive documents to enter into an investment via subscription to new shares in Mynt for an undisclosed amount.

The deal represents Ant Financial’s first-ever investment in the Philippines. Mynt is a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Capital Venture Holdings (GCVHI) under Globe Telecom and Ayala Corp. The partnership aims to speed up financial inclusion and upgrade payment services in the country, and to provide financial services in a non-traditional manner that will benefit the majority of the Filipino population who are unbanked.

Ayala said the partnership is a great platform to redefine the country’s financial services space amidst a robust consumer market and an increasingly digital environment. The investment will also help Mynt in its goal to become a world-class online and offline payment provider as well as to scale up its mobile wallet services and quickly expand its digital financial services in the country.

(Sources: Philippine Star, TechCrunch)

PTV-4 Picks NEC As Digital TV Supplier

ICT - Philippines
January 2017

Japanese tech titan NEC announced that it will provide digital terrestrial TV equipment for government-owned TV station People’s Television Network Inc., also known as PTV-4. Under the agreement, PTV-4 is scheduled to introduce digital terrestrial TV transmitters and compression multiplexers across six locations in the Philippines (Metro Manila, Baguio, Naga, Guimaras, Cebu and Davao) by July 2017. NEC said it will also provide total support for the introduction of these units, including their provision, installation, and the training of personnel.

The deal supports the expansion of the digital terrestrial TV broadcasting in the Philippines, which has been gaining momentum since November 2013, when the country adopted the Japanese digital TV standard – the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Technologies (ISDB-T).

(Sources:  Newsbytes.ph, Tech the Truth)

PAL Taps VMware For Software Solution

ICT - Philippines
December 2016

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has tapped US-based VMware Inc. for cloud software solution to help enhance its flight safety and reduce operational cost. VMware is a subsidiary of Dell Technologies that provides cloud computing and platform virtualization software and services.

The software solution allows PAL flight operation teams to distribute updates as soon as they become available. Both flight and on-ground crew members can now have secure access to the most up-to-date electronic information via company-issued devices. In addition, the flag carrier can scale its electronic flight bag (EFB) system up or down, when required.

The transition to an EFB system has saved the airline significant costs as this cut down load and consumption of 2,600 reams of paper annually. Traditional paper-based systems made updating flight bags extremely cumbersome and inefficient with an average of two flights delayed or cancelled each month as a result.

(Sources: Manila Bulletin, Malaya)

Philippines To Open Telecom Industry To Foreigners

ICT - Philippines
November 2016

The current Philippine administration plans to open the telecommunications, energy as well as the ICT sectors to more players, including foreigners, to improve competitiveness in these three industries. Philippine mobile internet and voice services are ranked among Asia’s slowest and most intermittent. Investors in the country have complained often of regulations that can restrict foreign investment in various areas, among them telecoms and utilities.

The government announced that it aims for an unparalleled trajectory of growth as it declares the opening up of the telecommunications industry to new players and foreign investors. The current plan of the government acknowledges the significant role of a more vibrant telecommunications and power industries to be able to participate in the global market with a competitive edge.

(Sources:  The Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Globe Inks USD 750 Million Deals With Tech Partners

ICT - Philippines
October 2016

Major telecommunications services provider Globe Telecom Inc has signed a US$ 750 million worth of deals with technology partners Huawei Technologies, Nokia, and Wuhan Fiberhome International Technologies to accelerate the use of new LTE technologies for improved mobile internet services. The agreements signed by Globe include the deployment of a new LTE spectrum in the country. This project aims to provide wider LTE coverage and better indoor penetration through an estimated 4,600 sites in the country. The project will increase data and fixed-wireless broadband capacity to provide telecommunications services in many areas of the country that have no access to broadband services. 

Apart from the deployment of new LTE frequency, Globe also signed a separate memorandum of confirmation with Huawei and Nokia for a capacity expansion program for its corporate data network. Through the fixed line network modernization project, Globe expects to improve the quality of its corporate network to make it more responsive to the needs of business and enterprises. Aimed at improving the coverage and capacity of Globe Telecom’s fixed broadband network, the project involves deployment of fiber optics which is expected to provide ultra-fast internet access to around 2 million homes nationwide.

(Sources: Globe, The Philippine Star)

New Streaming Service In The Philippines

ICT - Philippines
September 2016

Leading Philippine telco and digital services provider PLDT announced that it has entered into a partnership with US-based Roku Inc. Under the partnership, PLDT will leverage Roku’s streaming solution to launch a new streaming service that brings TV entertainment to Filipinos. The partnership is in line with PLDT’s strategy of widening its footprint in digital services as there has been a growing demand for internet-delivered TV services in the country. Roku’s powerful platform is expected to be a strong complement to PLDT’s current array of content from various providers that include South East Asia's biggest video-on-demand provider, iflix, and Fox International Channels.

(Sources: PLDT, The Philippine Star)

PLDT Beefing Up Digital Infrastructure For Mindanao

ICT - Philippines
August 2016

Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT will complete three major ICT projects in Mindanao by September to enhance the region’s digital infrastructure and support the economic growth in southern Philippines. The three projects, all located in Davao City, are the telco’s fourth cable landing station, the first Innolab or innovation laboratory, and the group’s eighth data center.

The cable landing station is aimed to improve resiliency and latency of international data traffic going in and out of Mindanao. The Innolab facility will serve as the group’s hub for available services and technology innovations for the region’s businesses and local communities. The data center would be able to serve enterprises through hosting of data or being a secondary back-up location for data already housed in other facilities across the country. The projects are in line with PLDT’s goal of strengthening its network across the country as there has been a growing need for a stronger and more robust digital infrastructure in the Philippines.

(Sources: PLDT, The Philippine Star)

EMC Beefs Up Philippine Offerings With 3 New Data Storage Products

ICT - Philippines
July 2016

Global data storage company EMC has introduced new products in the Philippines to help SMEs modernize their data centers. The three products are Unity, VCE VxRack System 1000, and VCE VxRail Appliance Family, with the latter two being of hyper-converged technology infrastructure characterized by multiple nodes.  

EMC Unity offers storage systems enterprise capabilities with all-flash and hybrid configuration and cloud-like simplicity. As EMC advocates for an easy-to-use storage, Unity is built with only six cables that can be put together in less than two minutes and takes only  15  minutes to set up. The product is offered for less than USD 18,000, a value which caters to the range of SMEs. EMC expects that these products will support the digital transformation of Philippines SMEs as they transition from manual to computerized operations. 

(Sources: Newbytes.ph, The Standard)