NOW Telecom, an affiliate of Velarde-led media and technology holding firm NOW Corp, revealed yesterday (17 April) that its deployment of a 5G mobile and broadband network across the Philippines is now ‘in full swing’ after it signed a secondary tranche agreement with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Nokia of America Corp for technical assistance.

‘This marks the completion of the execution of all the required documents for the USTDA project. The project is now in full swing,’ NOW Telecom confirmed. The company previously inked a PHP118 million (USD2.1 million) grant with USTDA in January 2023 to support the 5G rollout and is now working with Nokia’s Bell Labs Consulting on matters involving ‘analysis, designs and plans for phased implementation of the 5G wireless network in Metro Manila’. However, industry watchers note that in order to fully expand its infrastructure across the country, NOW will likely need to explore other funding opportunities at home and overseas, possibly including the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the US Development Finance Corporation.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate in January this year NOW selected Bell Labs Consulting to design its planned 5G Standalone (SA) network in the Philippines. As part of the plan, the telco will launch a pilot 5G network in parts of Metro Manila backed by its previously announced funding agreement with the USTDA. In addition, Nokia will help NOW secure funding for the 5G SA rollout as the latter seeks to launch fixed wireless access (FWA) and enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) 5G services by 2024.

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