Converge ICT Solutions, a Warburg Pincus-backed fibre-optic broadband service provider in the Philippines, is exploring a possible satellite technologies venture with various firms, including Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX).
However, the Philippine-listed company stressed that it is still premature to talk about a possible partnership with SpaceX at this stage, downplaying local reports that said it is already in talks with the broadband satellite provider.
“The latest satellite technologies, including that of SpaceX, are among those new technologies being explored by Converge to bring high-speed broadband to far-flung areas in the country,” Converge said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Talks surface at a time when SpaceX continues to deploy Starlink satellites, which orbit the planet at lower altitudes, promising more stable internet. Starlink is already accepting pre-order on a first-come, first-served approach. In the Philippines, Starlink said it will start deploying its Low Earth Orbit satellite internet service by 2022.
According to various reports, Starlink now has over 1,000 working satellites in orbit and targets to have 42,000 satellites by mid-2027.
Converge assures the exchange and its investors that it will promptly make the necessary disclosures should there be any material developments in its exploratory talks with possible partners.
The company has 750,000 residential customers mostly in and around the capital Manila. Founded in 2012 by businessman Dennis Uy, who is the current CEO, Converge ICT is the largest high-speed fixed broadband operator in the Philippines, with 54 per cent market share of high-speed residential fixed broadband subscriptions as of March 2020.
American private equity giant Warburg Pincus is a minority shareholder in the company – it invested $225 million in the company in July 2019. Warburg Pincus has a long track record of investing in the technology, media, and telecommunications sector, with select marque investments including Bharti/Airtel, Inexio, Ziggo, and Crowdstrike.