Converge ICT: Still ‘very premature’ to talk about tie-up with SpaceX

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Addressing news stories of its reported partnership with SpaceX, listed broadband provider Converge ICT said on Monday, Feb. 15, that is still “very premature” to discuss a deal to become the local partner for the US aerospace firm’s Starlink satellite broadband project.

Converge ICT founder and CEO Dennis Anthony Uy

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Converge ICT said the company “is always looking for new technologies to bring high-speed internet services to the broadest number of Filipinos.”

“The latest satellite technologies, including that of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), are among those new technologies being explored by Converge to bring high-speed broadband to far-flung areas in the country,” it stated.

“However, it is still very premature to talk about a possible partnership between Converge and SpaceX at this stage as suggested in the… news reports.”

The Dennis Uy-owned broadband firm added that it “will promptly make the necessary disclosures should there be any material developments in its exploratory talks with possible partners.”

A story over the weekend by local website said the Converge ICT and SpaceX are already in the advanced stages of negotiations brokered by no less than the United States embassy. It can be recalled that it was also the US embassy which facilitated the $250-million (P12.8-billion) funding that American investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC infused in Converge ICT in September last year.

SpaceX, led by American billionaire Elon Musk, is looking at launching Starlink in the Philippines by the third quarter of this year, according to Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Formally launched in October last year, Starlink is a satellite Internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in combination with ground transceivers.

Starlink, which is now on beta phase, promises to deliver Internet speed at around 50 to150 Mbps. Pre-order for the starter kit (composed of dish, Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables, and mounting tripod) is also now available for $499. The monthly fee starts at $99.

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