San Miguel ends talks with Telstra over joint telco venture

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has ended talks with Australian firm Telstra over a telecommunications venture for the Philippine market.

According to SMC President and COO Ramon Ang, both companies worked hard to come up with an acceptable resolution to some issues, but they could not push through with the talks.

"However, we agreed we can no longer continue with the talks. I believe this is best for all parties," he said.

Telstra CEO Andre Penn also confirmed the news.

"Despite an enormous amount of effort and goodwill on all sides, we were simply unable to come to commercial arrangements that would have enabled us all to proceed," said Penn in a statement released through the Australian Securities Exchange.

Telstra was expected to invest up to $1 billion in the partnership had the deal pushed through.

'Better, cheaper service'

In a statement, SMC said that it will "switch on" a new telecommunications network along with high-speed Internet service "as scheduled."

SMC shared that Telstra has offered to continue technical work design and construction consultancy support to the conglomerate.

Ang said that SMC is still interested in considering other joint venture opportunities for its telco business. He, however, added that they are not rushing with any business deals. 

"What’s important is that we give Filipinos a third and better choice that they have been deprived of for the longest time.”

“SMC’s entry in the telecom market will definitely be a game changer. When we launch, consumers will benefit from better, cheaper service,” Ang said.

In a meeting with Telstra investors last October, Penn expressed confidence in the partnership, if it were to push through.

"[W]ere we to complete a deal, the partner [SMC] is a very strong partner both in the perspective of its business interests in the market and also its spectrum holdings as well."

Read: Telstra bullish on possible SMC joint venture

He also said that the Philippines was prime for the entry of another major player in the the telco market.

"Frankly, let's face it. Go to the Philippines, experience for yourself the sort of lousy service you get from the incumbent operators, and you will see that the opportunity there for a new operator to provide a much better quality service over an LTE network, over a better spectrum."