Mislatel signs deal with China Telecom for third telco

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) -- Local firm Udenna Corp. has inked a $5.4-billion investment deal with state-owned China Telecommunications Corp. (Chinatel), formalizing the foreign company's foray into the Philippines as third mobile service provider.

Udenna unit Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. said the agreement was inked on April 25 in Beijing, China.

"This landmark investment agreement solidifies the Philippine government's commitment to improving the country’s telecommunications industry through the entry of a new telco operator that would challenge the dominance of the two giant incumbents amid persistent calls from consumers for improved services," Chelsea said in a disclosure on Monday.

Chinatel has teamed up with Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy through his company Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel) and has been named as provisional new major player in November 2018.

The consortium is made up of Mislatel, Udenna, Chelsea Logistics, and Chinatel. Mislatel secured a franchise to operate from Congress in 1998. They are expected to improve competition as they go against Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to break this duopoly in the telecommunications market.

Uy signed the agreement together with Chinatel chairman Ke Ruiwen, according to a disclosure filed Monday.

Tares his deal is part of the business agreements signed during the President's visit to China last week, which are cumulatively worth $12 billion. Filipino businessmen accompanied Duterte for the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Shares at Chelsea traded at P5.88 as of Monday morning trade, up 9.5 percent from Friday's closing rate.