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BLOGGING BIZ | MY ISP HAS A NEW FRIEND

Posted on: February 1, 2014

I have to start this blog entry with a disclaimer: I had been a subscriber of Bayan DSL and wireless landline long before I joined InterAksyon.com and haven’t bothered changing since I’m too lazy to do so. And I have not experienced anything bad so why fix it when it ain’t broke?

I received this from my via courier last week. I thought it was an invitation to something because I knew from the shape and size of the thing that it was a card of some sort.

If you can’t read the text, it says “Dito sa ating Bayan, may dumating na kaibigan.”

It’s a pop-up card. When you flip the logo up, it shows:

The Globe Telecom logo. The under the pop-up part of the card, it says:

Kakampi na po natin ang Globe! Sa Globe, siguradong magpapatuloy ang magandang service na nakasanayan ninyo. Tuloy lang ang tawag at ang internet! Pero simula pa lang ito. Marami pang exclusive offers na parating. Abang ang susunod na kabanata…

Well, if you are a regular reader of business stories or follow the telecommunications industry, this news is not surprising since the Ayala-led telecom is set to take over the debt-saddled Bayan and announced it would be buying out the Lopezes from the company. Globe bought almost all of the Bayan’s debts and also the entire liabilities of Radio Communications of the Philippines Inc’s (RCPI), a unit of Bayan. Remember RCPI? Yes, the RCPI telegram, now obsolete and gone to tech heaven.

Anyway, under the agreement was Globe will acquire those debts for $130 million, lower than the $400 million face value of Bayan’s total debt. In 2003, the telco failed to service its debts of $325 million therefore it had to undergo a court-supervised rehabilitation. Under the original rehab plan, Bayan would be finished with its rehab by 2023 but Globe has shortened it, with the latter expecting it to be concluded this year.

With the PLDT having folded Digitel under its wings, Globe had to boost its business by eating up its remaining rivals. Analysts said Globe’s move was meant to boost its fixed line segment to improve its profitability. As I wrote in my November 16, 2012 analysis for InterAksyon.com:

“After all, broadband Internet is the fastest growing segment of the telecom business, albeit the revenues have yet to approximate those earned in mobile SMS and voice, which remain the bread-and-butter of the country’s telcos…”

Analysts said Globe is already being squeezed out by the PLDT-Digitel merger in the wireless game so it had to go for the fixed line, broadband Internet clientèle–me. But the real meat of the deal are the unused frequencies on the 1800-megahertz band that Bayantel holds, which Smart Communications had been asking the National Telecommunications to retrieve.

So what does this mean for customers like me?

“Since Bayan is now an affiliate of Globe, we are making our data products available to Bayan customers as well,” Yolly Crisanto, Globe’s head for corporate communications told me in a text message. According to their website, Globe is offering up to 100 mbps of fiber home broadband, LTE, mobile wifi and broadband sticks (which PLDT also offers).

I asked Bayan whether they would offer preferential rates or “unli” bundles for Globe subscribers and vice-versa, its corporate communications department said it has to come back to me for details as these had to be obtained from the company’s marketing department.

But as a customer, it all boils down to reliability of service. The reasons why I stuck with Bayan were: 1) their “cabinet” (you know, where all of their lines end up) is literally just spitting distance away from our front gate in Quezon City, ergo any technical problems, their people can immediately work it out; 2) their main office is just one tricycle away from our home so when I call because my Internet connection has gone wonky, their tech people would be arriving in our place in an hour or two (and no, they don’t know I am a business reporter); and Bayan-to-Bayan calls are free nationwide and my parents-in-law in Samar are also Bayan subscribers.

So now, the question is, would the level of service remain the same once the red logo of Bayan becomes blue? We are subscribers of all the three telcos (we have PLDT landline/Smartbro canopy in Laguna and a Globe DSL subscriber in our small shop in UP Village) and I know how reliable or unreliable each of these are.

So all I could do is wait and see.

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life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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