Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Digitel moves to stop PLDT’s expansion plan

DIGITAL Telecommunications Philippines Inc. (Digitel) wants the National Telecommunications Commission to deny the application of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. for expansion in areas not covered by its license.

Digitel also questions the legal capacity of PLDT to expand its services to the entire country, saying it is foreign owned.

In a filing with NTC, Myla M. Matic, Digitel legal counsel, said the entry of the PLDT in areas already served by numerous authorized service providers and entities would result in a ruinous competition prejudicial to minor and budding players in the industry.

The PLDT had requested the regulator that it be issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which will allow the company to establish, install, operate and maintain telecommunications services in areas not yet covered by its permit.

“PLDT would naturally be imposing its dominance over these players considering the extent of coverage it desires to serve through the proposed services, a fact which contravenes the very basic purpose of the law to level the playing field for industry players,” Matic said in a statement.

She said the PLDT’s expansion would be a waste of valuable resources as it will duplicate the services already being offered by authorized carriers and entities in the proposed areas.

“It is worthy to take a look at the legal capacity of the PLDT to apply for the proposed services in view of the recent issue that it is a foreign-owned corporation, for more than 60 percent of its outstanding common stocks is owned by foreign interests,” Matic said.

“This is a violation of the 60-40 requirement on foreign ownership of local utilities. This is clearly a violation of the 1987 Constitution and Republic Act 7042 or the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 since with this current set up, the PLDT would allow foreigners to exercise control and management of its affairs and provision of public service which is only granted to Filipino owned corporations,” she added.
--Darwin G. Amojelar - Manila Times

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South Korean firm, IPVG team up on cyber café chain rollout in RP

Stylized, tech-savvy ‘Net café will cater to local and foreign customers

By JOEL D. PINAROC - Manila Bulletin

Sabiclub Corp., a South Korean-owned technology company, has partnered with listed technology company IPVG in a massive cyber café rollout in the Philippines.

"As strategic partner of Sabiclub, we will work closely together on a number of fronts. Sabiclub is a channel into the Internet café business and Korean market," IPVG CEO Enrique Y. Gonzalez in a statement said.

Sabiclub president and founder Don Hung Lee, said his company is looking at establishing 100 Internet cafés in the Philippines to cater to local and foreign customers.

The company is planning to put up the cyber cafés through a massive franchising drive, Lee, said.

The technology firm, which also has business interests in systems in integration and web development, will partner with IPVG for the Internet café rollout, Lee said.

The executive however remained mum on the financial arrangement his company and IPVG made, regarding the rollout.

IPVG also did not disclose other details of the deal. The company has various interests, including gaming, data center, and business outsourcing.

According to Lee, Sabiclub will put two Internet café brands, including i-Hooked and Station 168, catering to students, and foreign customers, respectively.

Sabiclub has currently two i-Hooked branches and several Station 168 centers.

Lee said Sabiclub will put the i-Hooked cafés around schools, while the Station 168 will be strategically located in and around communities with a high concentration of foreigners, particularly South Koreans.

Lee said Sabiclub is eyeing to "sell" the two franchises for 5 million pesos to 10 million pesos depending on the location and size of the Internet café.

The cash generated from this franchise sale will fund the bulk of the expansion drive, Lee said.

Currently, Sabiclub has recently opened two i-Hooked branches and several Station 168 centers.

Lee said Sabiclub is aiming to put up about 20 more cyber cafés in the "coming months."

The executive said Sabiclub may also acquire existing cyber cafés and turn them into i-Hooked branches that will be designed after South Korea’s "PC bang," a stylized Internet café popular in the country.

"Bang," means room in Korean, Lee said, adding that hew i-Hooked and Station 168 cafés will have spacious lounges, and top-of-the-line terminals, among others.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Filipino firm hopes to make ICT learning fun for kids

By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines--Three-year-old Filipino firm TechFactors Inc. has developed "edutainment" software to make technology education interactive and fun for children.

Citing the lack of homegrown courseware, a group of academic experts and game developers from the University of the Philippines came together to form the company.

About 90,000 Filipino kids from 170 to 180 private schools nationwide use the company's courseware, Jimmy Caro, chief academic officer of TechFactors Inc., told INQUIRER.net in a telephone interview.

The company's edutainment software combines video games, laboratory simulation and other interactive exercises to make ICT education "fun and engaging," he said.

The company has developed courseware modules for pre-schoolers, elementary, and high school students.

"There's a need for schools to help kids prepare for college," he said, adding that the interactive courses also derive topics from mathematics, science, and English as examples to help kids learn technology, Caro added.

Every student is provided two books and a CD that contains a year's worth of ICT courseware. Teachers are also trained in the use of the courseware.

Asked how much the courseware package costs, Caro said, "It is cheaper than going to a popular fastfood [restaurant] in a month."

Local schools that have bought the homegrown courseware include the Philippine Cultural High School in Binondo, Ateneo de Davao, University of San Carlos, Don Bosco in Pampanga, and the National College of Business and Arts.

"We hope what were doing will have an impact on ICT education among the Filipino children," he said.

The Filipino software company is actively looking for venture capital to help them expand capacity and reach in the market.

"There's still room for growth because of the big demand from schools," Caro said.

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