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ABS-CBN announces network-sharing partnership with Globe

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ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio Lopez III and Globe Telecom President/CEO Ernest Cu announce the network-sharing partnership between the two companies, alongside President/Managing Director of ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. Carlo Katigbak and Globe Telecom Senior Adviser for Consumer Business Peter Bithos

ABS-CBN announced its newest subsidiary and media convergence arm, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., as well as its expansion into the telecommunications business through a network-sharing partnership with Globe Telecom.

“ABS-CBN has always been about delivering Filipino content to our audiences over the platforms that are most relevant to them,”  said Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN Convergence President and Managing Director. “In recent times, we have come to realize that mobile internet is going to become one of the most important platforms for delivering our content to our audiences.”

Katigbak remarked that iWanTv.com, ABS-CBN’s free video streaming website, is now one of the most viewed sites in the Philippines and that nearly half of the users who visit it are using mobile devices to access it.

“We have entered into a network sharing agreement with Globe Telecom,” Katigbak declared. “Under this agreement, ABS-CBN purchases network capacity on a wholesale basis from Globe, thereby allowing us to offer traditional voice and SMS services to our consumers. In addition, we are also going to offer wireless broadband services that allow us to transmit exciting new programs to any mobile device.”

ABS-CBN Mobile, as the two corporations have billed their new offering, will be made available to the public in the form of an ABS-CBN-branded, but Globe-powered SIM card with which users can access exclusive mobile web content.

According to ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio Lopez III, the content that will be available on ABS-CBN Mobile will be three-pronged—television content (TV shows) that extend into the mobile space, digital content that will be exclusively available to ABS-CBN Mobile subscribers, and an aggregate of user-generated content. Katigbak added that exclusive content ranges from entertainment and news to celebrity interaction and other offerings.

Katigbak mentioned that ABS-CBN will also bundle the ABS-CBN Mobile SIM cards with devices ranging from smartphones, to tablets and mobile broadband dongles.

Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu commented, “Globe is very confident that through its 2G, 3G, and 4G network, we will be able to serve the many Kapamilyas that will be joining the ABS-CBN Mobile experience.”

Cu added, “We do believe that there is a segment out there that ABS-CBN Convergence and ABS-CBN Mobile will be able to address.”

Globe Telecom Senior Adviser for Consumer Business Peter Bithos remarked that the partnership is beneficial to Globe as much as it is to ABS-CBN since it enables Globe to extend its services to segments that they “cannot reach” themselves. “With a reach of 35 million [people] and a population of a hundred million, there are many segments left untapped by our current brand portfolio. We do not think it’s the right or appropriate thing to do for Globe or TM to offer all things to all people. We find a fantastic partner in ABS-CBN that has reach, content and a value proposition that appeals to segments that we do not,” commented Bithos.

Bithos also maintained that existing Globe users will not have access to the exclusive digital content offered by ABS-CBN Mobile unless they avail of the dedicated ABS-CBN SIM card. “I think it’s down to customer preference. If you are a deep, deep fan of the Kapamilya network and you really want ABS-CBN content, I think that there’s a unique value proposition that you can get from ABS-CBN Mobile. However, if your needs fall in different areas and you have different wants, Globe and TM will be there to serve you as well.”

The ABS-CBN Mobile service will be officially launched within 2013.