NOW Telecom mulls public listing as it pursues 5G strategy

NOW Telecom mulls public listing as it pursues 5G strategy

Filipino licensee NOW Telecom has appointed Unicapital to provide financial advice on a potential public offering.

NOW Corp chief Mel Velarde noted that Unicapital will also advise on the firm’s corporate restructuring, as well as its plans to raise funds to deploy a fixed-wireless 5G network in the Philippines. In July 2019, NOW confirmed its aim of competing against established players Smart and Globe (and newcomer DITO) in the 5G arena.

In a statement, NOW Telecom said that it did not plan to follow the typical initial public offering (IPO) route, and would likely attempt a Listing by Way of Introduction (LBI). This would forgo the process of underwriting a public offering and instead attempt to procure immediate approval from the relevant stock exchange, allowing for immediate listing and trading.

“Together with its adviser, NOW Telecom is assessing the suitability of listing its shares on the local bourse or within the region, given its medium-term business plans”, said Velarde. The Philippine Daily Inquirer noted that opting for an LBI would enable NOW Telecom to fulfil the terms of its Congressional telecoms franchise.

The communications unit of NOW Corp is gunning to be the fourth operator in the Philippines but has not yet decided whether to list domestically or internationally, reports TeleGeography.

The operator claims that it already holds 5G-ready frequencies, and is lining up a US$713 million investment into its Metro Manila 5G fixed-wireless network across the next five years. Around US$152 million of this would be spent on 5G radio equipment over the next three years.

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